Promote the system.

THE country is running on vibes and individual assessment of situations. Matters as trivial as the dilemma of reaching office on time to as grave as whether or not the FIR of an assassination attempt on a national leader should be registered are left at the whim of individuals rather than having a system in place. Such is the lack of collective consciousness that when an officer who cares about punctuality joins as head of a government department, the whole office comes on time and work starts at 9am sharp, but when a laid-back individual joins, the whole office is late by a couple of hours.

This distrust in the system is now so evident that even international investors have expressed it. Recently, investors in the Reko Diq mining project filed a reference in court to seek endorsement of conditions of their agreement with the government of Pakistan to avoid controversies at a later stage, which are often generated at the whim of individuals. The only thing left is perhaps an endorsement from the military establishment, which, given the fact the project is in Balochistan, must already be there, otherwise matters would not have come this far.

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes had ruled against Pakistan and awarded $6.5 billion as compensation to the mining firm for cancelling the project initially as a result of the rulings of a hyperactive Supreme Court in 2013. But thanks to the absence of a system, no one held anyone accountable. A country being run on vibes cannot expect anything different in other areas either - from gamely matters on the cricket field to governance affairs in the civil service, everything is running on individual assessment, whims and vibes.

The promotion of around 350 officers from grade 20 and 21 is on hold because the recommendations by the Central Selection Board are under scrutiny by the Prime Minister's Secretariat as it seems the rules are being defied. To cut a long story short, under the rules, 30 per cent of the overall score will depend on the marks obtained in the departmental promotional exam. However, for various reasons, no exams are being held and the Establishment Division has left the 30pc to the discretion of the CSB - which comprises six federal secretaries, four provincial chief secretaries and two parliamentarians.

There is a need to overhaul the system of promotions.

Since the evaluation mechanism is arbitrary - comprising irrelevant trainings, out-of-place academic...

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