THE employment situation in Pakistan is a nightmare. The educational system keeps churning out thousands of students every year without analysing market demands and prevailing trends. This naturally results in rising unemployment in the country, which forces individuals from various academic backgrounds, including engineers, doctors and other professional degree-holders, to go for government employment through competitive examinations.

While only the crème de la crème manage to qualify for the civil services, the barriers for fresh aspirants even in this domain are no less. Things become more difficult and tougher for the candidates when several Civil Superior Services (CSS) qualifiers sit the examination again to move to their preferred cadres even though they are already part of the bureaucracy. This is a practice that is unjust to the fresh aspirants.

Recently, an already employed bureaucrat topped the CSS-2020 examination. That individual had initially qualified CSS examination in 2012 and was allocated the Pakistan Customs group as against the declared priority for the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS). The person concerned joined the service, but re-attempted in 2015 and took another chance in 2020 when finally the desired cadre was allocated.

Similarly, a CSS 2021 written examination qualifier is currently a deputy secretary in a province after having passed the Provincial Management Service (PMS) examination.

In all such cases, the already qualified and employed individuals follow the entire CSS process and take away that many seats after resigning from their existing services. This is not fair to those who are unemployed and sitting the examination for the first time.

It would be better if there is a separate procedure for those who have already qualified the competitive examination and are part of civil service but want to get a posting in their desired group. For them, it is a luxury; for the fresh aspirants, it is a matter of their career. There is a huge difference and that difference needs to be acknowledged.

The government should make policies for conducting internal departmental examinations to relocate the qualified CSS aspirants according to their priorities, instead of allowing them to reappear in the CSS examination, knowing that this will be unfair to the fresh applicants.

Besides, the government needs to formulate policies to promote the link between the academia and the industry to generate more and better employment opportunities so that at least the professional degree-holders may join their respective professions rather than focussing on the CSS.

Muhammad Issa Khan Balti

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2021



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