Institutions should respond to needs of modern era: PM Gilani

LAHORE: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday that the state and its institutions would have to respond to the needs of modern era.He was addressing a passing out ceremony of the 33rd DMG Specialized Training Programme (STP) and 38th Common Training Programme (CTP) of Civil Services Academy here at Aiwan-i-Iqbal.He said the institutions had to understand that the old ways of responding to crises would not work any more.He said the situation had coincided with the country’s move towards a new era of freedom of expression, democracy and active citizenship. This era had brought out dynamics of its own which were complex and multi-faceted, he added.He said that an important dynamic of the new era was that media, civil society and an independent judiciary were proactively trying to correct the course of the society while the rule of law was an important element of democratic governance.He said that in the presence of functional vital institutions of the State like the parliament, the judiciary, the executive, the armed forces, the media and the civil society, the rating of Pakistan as a failed state was merely a faulty perception.He said the nation should only focus on strengthening of the institutions rather than getting demoralized by such false ratings.He said that it had become a rhetoric for the past 63 years of our society to say that the country was passing through difficult times, but today it is time to make a reality check.The Prime Minister said that in reality Pakistan was facing great security challenges of the history and the difficult situation of the economy had further compounded these challenges.He said the reform process was a long arduous path that requires patience, analytical skills and dispassionate approach.

He stressed all the institutions had to play their due role as governance was a shared responsibility of all the state institutions at all the levels.He emphasized that Pakistan’s State and society needed a continuous effort to understand that interests and ambitions must always be balanced with ground realities.The Prime Minister said that the nation was witnessing a massive transformation in the concept and style of governance and public service, adding that the ages-old practices had given way to new and fresh ideas in all facets of management and adminstration.He said the buzzwords today were performance, accountability and good governance.The premier said that the role of the state and bureaucracy had also undergone significant change from a provider and regulator of goods and services to that of catalyst, enabler and facilitator.He said that many areas which were exclusive domains of public service had gone into the hands of private sector, therefore, the public expected an efficient and responsive civil service that served them at least as well, if not better, than the private sector.

Gilani stressed the need for a framework wherein partnership with private sector could be promoted.He said that public service was a challenging duty which needed to be performed with passion and commitment. “It is not an easy path to tread and you have, however, chosen this path of your own free will,” he added.The prime minister said profession and career of the civil servant could be immensely satisfying as well as spiritually rewarding.He said that civil servants would start at the implementation level of public policy and, later on, they would assist the government in policy formulation.He said that it was the duty of civil servants to ensure that no discrimination took place and under no circumstances should their personal interests took precedence over national and public interests.The Prime Minister said that it was the foremost responsibility of any government to create and sustain a well trained, efficient and honest public service cadre.  “Our government thus places a high priority on human resource development,” he added.

He expressed the hope that the Academy had done its utmost to equip the probationary officers, not only with the basic knowledge and administrative skills which they required to perform their future responsibilities, but also to bring home to them.Gilani advised the officers that life should be made easier for the people and not more difficult, adding that they were required to pursue the cause of the down-trodden and ensure that people get fair and just treatment at the hands of the bureaucracy.

“The bureaucracy should be viewed as a friend and not as a foe,” he added.The prime minister said the first thing should always be remembered that they had been recruited to serve the people with humility, dedication and professionalism.He said that more than ever, the people of Pakistan needed today an active, efficient, vibrant and dynamic class of public service managers, which had the ability to offer solutions to the problems and specialized in managing public sector. He, however, said the dignity and self-respect of every citizen must be upheld and guaranteed.

He said that it was very unfortunate that public perception about civil servants was distorted as people believed that all civil servants were arrogant, inefficient and dishonest.However, he said that there were many officers who work zealously and honestly, but the unfriendly image of the civil servant continued to persist.He urged all the civil servants to make efforts through their conduct, commitment and devotion to dispel this misleading image once and for all.He emphasized that transformation of vision for an invincible, developed, prosperous Pakistan was a debt of founding fathers of the nation upon all and said the nation had to replay it with honestly and sincerity of purpose.

The Prime Minister announced a grant of Rs 100 million for the improvement of training infrastructure, increase in free messing allowance for probationers from Rs 175 to 225 per day and announced a grant of Rs 1 million for the DMG Alumni Resource Centre.He also announced a grant of Rs 10 million for the employees of the academy.He also named the DMG Lecture Hall as Sherdil Hall in the memory of late AZK Sherdil, a senior civil servant and inaugurated the activation of the DMG Alumni Resource Centre.Earlier, the PM distributed awards among the probationary officers of the academy. – APP