The declining capacity of the state machinery is the cumulative result of several factors. Among these two stand out. One, postponed reforms and two, politicisation of the civil service.
There is little evidence of any change in the training, skill development, working methods and outlook of the foreign service, which needs its own set of reforms to make it fit for purpose. Instead of this piecemeal tinkering a comprehensive approach is needed which transforms state institutions to respond to the requirements of modern governance.
“Above all, the aim of reform should be to depoliticise the civil service by ensuring merit in postings and transfers, a key element that remains conspicuous by its absence so far.” Key issue is institutional corrosion in Pakistan, esp absence of Institutional decision-making; Foreign Office revamping should include focus on 3D’s: Diplomacy, Diaspora & Digitalmedia + Foreign Service exam should be separate.
“India’s Foreign Service is thoroughly professional, with an unusually high number of brilliant officers, but is a persistent underachiever. By contrast, Pak Foreign Service is smaller in size and range than IFS but extremely effective.” Stephen Cohen, “Emerging power – India”
“The quality of Pakistani diplomats can’t-be questioned. They are a formidable group, their best are as good as our best. For some Pak diplomats, the foreign service was both a cause and a career;for a handful, it was a crusade.” Kunwar Natwar Singh, Indian Ext. Affairs Minister
The PM’s remarks about Pakistan’s Foreign Service were badly prepared and reflect a growing propensity for scapegoating the civilian bureaucracy as the government fails or falters on nearly all fronts due to its own arbitrary governance & poverty of ideas. Excellency, May I ask what the Foreign Service of Pakistan was doing when EU MPs were preparing a resolution to withdraw GSP plus status? should Pakistan’s Ambassadar to Brussels not be probed/ questioned?
I doubt the quality and performance of foreign affairs staff and diplomats can be gauged by the statement from across the border. The reality is – majority of Pakistan embassies staff is inept, ungracious and self centered. Majority of Pakistanis have unpleasant memories of Their trips to embassies and counsulates. None of the Pak ambassadors have been able to push through the Pak narrative on WoT, Kashmir or on local priorities as they had been busy in self gratification. You should gauge your performance from OSP feedback and Pak image abroad.
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