WHEN employers advertise a job vacancy, both in public and private sectors, they want to see several things in a candidate, such as their education, a certain age and relevant experience. What differentiates the public sector from the private is that before issuing the appointment letter, the department concerned gets the applicant’s character investigated or verified to ensure the relevant person has a clean record.
For those who head the entire government machinery, however, there is no such requirement. Anybody can be a politician, and, by virtue of that, be a minister. There are no checks on their background, criminal record, experience and qualification. As a result, anyone can be assigned a ministry despite lacking the relevant experience and qualifications.
For instance, the ministries of education, science and technology, agriculture, industry and economics have often been headed by those who lack the requisite comprehension and experience to run them efficiently.
Moreover, if a citizen applies for a job, he or she must fulfil all the requirements of the post, including the age limit that is specified for all government jobs in any of its departments. Again, there are no such criteria for the politicians. Regardless of age, a person is eligible to rule the people and deal with sensitive issues of the country. Whether they are too young to understand the intricacies of the job, or too old to sustain their focus for long does not make a difference at all.
Inefficient people cannot formulate strong policies because they only think about their own benefits. And that is precisely the reason why successive governments in Pakistan have failed to fix issues related to national life, like economy, poverty, corruption, political instability and deteriorating law and order.
Long-term and efficient policymaking requires intelligence, expertise and agility in equal measures. It is not without a reason that it is mandatory to acquire skills in a particular field before taking the driving seat. Unfortunately, the manner in which politics is run in the country means expertise, qualification, age and experience do not matter. Based on nepotism and favouritism, people get rewarded with prime postings.
Consequently, the ministers who are not acquainted with the field handed over to them find refuge in a never-ending political tug of war on television talk shows. Things being what they are, it is no wonder that our institutions are crumbling down.
Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2022