off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Failure of the
Civilian Institutions?


Despite all the problems and difficulties we are facing these days, democracy is the best form of Government and all intrigues, conspiracies to derail the democratic system should be foiled. We do have some disgruntled politicians, pseudo intellectuals and some blackmailers in the disguise of anchorpersons in the electronic media who all are working overtime to make us believe that there nothing good is happening in this country and everything is going to crumble any moment simply because these people find it extremely difficult to survive in a democratic set up. They always flourish and thrive during military dictatorship. Had the military rule been so good, after having seen many military dictators starting from Gen. Ayub Khan to General Pervez Musharraf, we must have found some solutions to our problems but every time the military dictator left, the conditions were worse and it pushed the country backward by many years. The long marches and Dharana by some disgruntled politicians is the part of the same strategy. What we need to do is let the democratic system progress, ensure that the political governments formed after elections complete their tenure, change in government takes place through elections, ensure free and fair elections and empower the Election Commission with more powers so that it can perform its functions smoothly and efficiently.

Having said that let us not forget the fact that Army has emerged as a powerful and strong institution simply because it has some principles which it follows. There is a chain of command, discipline in its ranks, merit, competence and ability is recognized, upheld and recognized as well as rewarded. It also has an in built system of monitoring and accountability. All selections, promotions are based on merit and competence while seniority is also given due importance. Have you ever heard that the post of a Core Commander is left vacant for few minutes what to talk of days? Much before the retirement of the incumbent, their replacement is ready to take up the responsibility. Why the civilian set up cannot ensure that? When the civilian government fails to discharge its duties honestly and efficiently, some gap is created and there are forces which are always willing to fill up that gap. The political parties and politicians are elected and given a mandate to govern and serve the people not to amaze wealth and indulge in corruption.

If the democratic set up is not derailed and we have three four consecutive elections once the party in power has completed its term in office, the corrupt elements and those who fail to deliver and keep up their promises will be thrown out by the voters. These politicians can befool the people for some time but not all the time provided they are given time to complete their term so that they have no excuses and  people can judge their performance and then vote to elect new leadership. That is what has been happening all over the world and every country whether in the developing or developed world has gone through such phases.

It took more than three years for the Sindh Government to find out that they have a competent, capable person in the name of Prof. Saeed Qureshi to be appointed as Vice Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences. Ever since Prof. Saeed Qureshi took over the responsibilities of Medical Superintendent of Civil Hospital, Karachi, there has been tremendous improvement in the service delivery and patient care. He should have been appointed Vice Chancellor when the first term of the former Vice Chancellor had expired. Why the Sindh Government politicized the office of Vice Chancellor of DUHS? Why they used it for political bargaining and spoiled the image of this coveted office? Why such coveted posts are not filled in at appropriate time? Why extensions are granted on one pretext or the other? Why these posts are kept vacant? Are they for sale and the authorities keep on waiting for the highest bidder? This disease is prevalent in other provinces as well but it is not so acute like the one we see in the province of Sindh.

Prof. Masood Hameed as Vice Chancellor had done commendable work, established numerous institutions and DUIHS under his leadership made lot of progress. However, he failed to attract and retain talent with the result that many young talented faculty members left and are occupying coveted positions in the gulf countries particularly Saudi Arabia. Many cases of promotions were kept pending for too long and he is reported to have taken some decisions during the last few days of his tenure which he should have taken much earlier. He should have retired gracefully at the expiry of his first term. History is a witness that whosoever got extension not only lost his respect but his credibility also suffered to a great extent. No one is indispensable and graveyardsare full of people who once thought that they were indispensable.  In fact such people are surrounded by sycophants who keep them in the dark and all the time keep on saying that without them things won’t work. It is essential that those occupying such coveted posts train others and have a succession plan so that once they retire, others are ready to take up the responsibilities. However, if you have a centralized “total Control” do not allow opportunities to others to develop and grow, it creates a mess and that is what we seen in the case of Dow University of Health Sciences. This Tamasha and Drama still goes on and there seems to be no end in sight. Governor Sindh has appointed Prof. Noshad Sheikh who was serving as Vice Chancellor of Liquate University of Medical and Health Sciences as the new Vice Chancellor of DIHS while the Sindh Chief Minister has recommended the name of Prof. Saeed Qureshi and is also reported to have sent a second letter to the Governor to appoint Prof. Saeed Qureshi as the new Vice Chancellor of DUHS. However, Sindh High Court has suspended the notification issued by the Governor Sindh appointing Prof. Noshad Shaikh as VC of DUHS.

There is a lesson for all those who are keen to learn. Never Never under any circumstances ask, request, maneuver for extension. Play your innings and opt for honorable retirement which is no less than a blessing these days. Train your juniors, have a succession plan, work for the overall development of the whole faculty without any likes or dislikes. Take decisions on merit and merit alone, give credit to other members of the team and you will be remembered for all times to come. Make sure that when you retire, there is no disruption and the institution, organization you had been heading witnesses a smooth transition having new leadership. Once the civilian institutions and organizations, politicians and political parties ensures this, there will be no danger of any undemocratic intervention. Finally we need economic development which is the solution to most of our problems. For it we need political stability, hence whosoever tries to create political instability is not a friend of Pakistan.

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