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ISLAMABAD: A Senate special committee observed on Friday that only retired civil servants, judges and army officers are appointed to the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), and called for other experts to be inducted in the formation of the commission.

The committee met to examine the 2015 Annual Report of the FPSC at Parliament House on Friday. In addition to discussing the report, the committee has also been working on proposals that will be presented before the Senate to improve the institution.

Recommendations that were drafted based on the remarks and observations made by committee members at recent meetings, said that the FPSC is only staffed by retired civil servants, judges and army officials.

The recommendations have not finalised by the committee, which will hold its final meeting in the coming days to shape the proposals before placing the report in Senate.

However, the committee’s staff on Friday shared the recommendations with committee members.

The draft said that the federal government had been unable to prescribe rules regarding the qualifications and experiences of women and the private sector. It said: “The committee showed grave concern that the women and private sector could never seek adequate representation in the FPSC rather it remained ignored till now.”

The draft stated that the Establishment Division’s proposed criteria for the appointment of women and members of the private sector to the FPSC are “more stringent, idealistic and utopian”, and recommended that a realistic approach be adopted in this regard.

During the meeting, the committee members discussed in detail the criteria proposed by the Establishment Division and FPSC for women and private sector officials, and convenor Senator Muzafar Hussain Shah told an FPSC official that whenever they place the proposed rules before the FPSC, they must incorporate the reservations of the committee members. He added that complicated criteria should not be fixed for women and the private sector.

“The committee also observed that either such behaviour is to discourage the private sector and qualified womenfolk, or the bureaucracy wished to keep up the status quo in their own comfortable working domain,” the draft said.

According to the draft recommendations, the committee observed that an overall basic pre-screening test is essential to screen out non-serious candidates and the tendency towards absenteeism from the examination.

The draft also recommended revising the eligibility criteria for Central Superior Services (CSS) to 16 years of education – a four-year bachelor’s or master’s degree – instead of 14.

The committee recommended that for further grooming and aptitude formation, college level students should also have some awareness about the CSS examinations, and talented students – after 12 years of education – could be attracted towards the civil service through guidance and counselling services.

They also recommended that groups need to be expanded in the age of specialisation. Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak said there should be specialised examinations for the foreign service, finance and other fields, with was seconded by Senator Mohsin Khan Leghari.

Senator Khattak said that retired and serving civil servants should make up a quarter of the FPSC’s membership each, and there should be no role for retired army officers or judges. Instead, experts from various fields should be made commission members.

Senator Shah, after input from committee members and officials of the Establishment Division, FPSC and other government departments, decided to hold another meeting to finalise the recommendations.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2018