ARTICLE 27 of the Constitution of Pakistan states: “No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth.”
The quota system was introduced as an exception to this article because of the uneven level of development and lack of appropriate educational facilities in certain parts of the country.
It was not made a permanent feature of the constitution; rather it was initially protected for a period of 20 years and thereafter the period was extended through the constitution (16th Amendment) Act 1999 for a further period of 20 years. Now that period has passed and the rationale for which the quota system was envisaged and protected in the constitution does not exist anymore so we can declare the quota system as unconstitutional.
The system hurt a merit-based induction in the CSS as only 7.5per cent seats are reserved for open merit; the remaining 92.5pc reservations are quota-based. In the past, many students passed the CSS written exam and cleared the interview but did not get allocations owing to limited seats in quota system despite the fact that their merit number was better than those who got allocations under quota system .
It should be mentioned that if the quota-based system is extended at the expense of the merit-based one, it will fuel parochialism. As a nation we need to understand that we cannot make our institutions strong unless we recruit right persons on the right job.
Nankana Sahib, Punjab
Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2019