JWT helped me a great deal in getting much-needed latest updates on national and international affairs that helped me get through the General Knowledge paper.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Osama Sharoon (OS): I am a law graduate and besides an LLB degree, I have earned a master’s degree in Political Science as well.
JWT: As everyone starts dreaming of a future career right from childhood, so what were your dreams? Did you always aspire to be a PMS Officer?
OS: Honestly speaking, I never aspired to become a civil servant. I was a professional cricketer and this game was like a passion to me. I have played cricket at regional, national and even international level for Pakistan U-19. But the fate had something different in store for me and in 2009, a couple of game-related injuries made me change my plans. Following in the footsteps of my father and my elder brothers, I got in touch with PMS and started preparing for this prestigious exam. And, finally in 2016, I got through by securing 30th position in the Punjab province.
JWT: What attracted you most toward PMS?
OS: The most attractive thing to me is that a PMS Officer always serves in the Punjab province and holds the key posts throughout his career. Starting from the positions like Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Director Anti-Corruption, District Monitoring Officer, one can enter into the higher echelons of the provincial bureaucracy where he has the capacity and the authority to positively impact the lives of millions of people.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) during your preparation for PMS?
OS: JWT helped me a great deal in getting much-needed latest updates on national and international affairs that helped me get through the General Knowledge paper. In addition, I got information on recent trends of competitive exams through this mag.
JWT: What, in your opinion, is the key to getting through compulsory papers, especially General Knowledge paper?
OS: After English Essay and English Précis & Composition, the General Knowledge paper is at the third number in the hierarchy of ‘dangerous’ subjects. This paper requires extensive study. So, in my opinion, one must do it on daily basis for at least three hours. For this crucial paper, PMS aspirants must consult at least three good books, JWT magazine and the Dawn newspaper.
My own strategy for Compulsory Papers was to secure the 3 ‘dangerous’ papers first i.e. Essay, English Précis & Composition and GK. I think one only needs to survive in these very papers to have some chance of success — although trend does play a role in score-yielding capacity of these papers, they are real hard nuts to crack — Urdu and Islamiat are, more or less, high-scoring.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
OS: Well, I would say many persons as a number of respected individuals have contributed to my success. First of all, it’s all about my family as I had the patronage and guidance of my highly-learned father Dr Liaquat Ali Khan Niazi, my elder brother Sharukh Niazi, my sister Fatima Shingruf and my mother Tasneem Jahan. In addition, I am highly indebted to Sir Agha Mohsin, Sir Arshad Iqbal and Sir Waseem for all their support. But, I dedicate the most part of my success to my elder brother Abdullah Khurram Niazi as he took a great interest in my studies and personally taught me on daily basis for five years. He is my real mentor. He supported me financially, socially and in all other areas of life. From my first day of preparation till the announcement of the final result, he taught me, set plans for me and motivated me. I genuinely feel that without his sincere and tiresome efforts, getting through PMS would have been extremely difficult for me.
JWT: How did you prepare your notes?
OS: I prepared my notes from those made by my brother and my father. In addition, I consulted quality books for each subject.
JWT: How should one choose Optional Subjects for PMS?
OS: One should always choose safe subjects. By this, I mean one should avoid subjects like Commerce, Business Administration etc. as they do not yield good scores to most aspirants. It is always advisable to be on the safer side, so one should go for the subjects in which one has a fair chance to get high scores. Punjabi, Social Work and Political Science are among those ‘safe’ subjects.
JWT: How the answers should be written to get maximum marks?
OS: There is a myth that length, writing speed and beauty matter. However, I would say that, in essence, it’s all about relevance — a candidate who is very relevant in answering the questions can easily get good scores.
JWT: Should there be some word limit kept in mind while writing answers?
OS: Well, there should be a balance as writing too lengthy or too concise answers can be counterproductive. I think 6-7 pages are good enough.
JWT: How one should structure one’s Essay in PMS exam?
OS: The game of the essay starts with the outline as it decides your fate. It must be highly relevant and organised. Then comes the issue of length. I adopted the same strategy of maintaining a balance.
JWT: Is it better to attempt optional papers in Urdu or one should go with English only?
OS: English surely allows you to get good marks as compared to Urdu. But it depends on your command over the language
My Interview Experience
The panellists asked both knowledge-based and conceptual questions, mostly on current affairs, public administration and political thinkers. I kept my cool and answered all questions with full confidence.
Advice for Fresh Aspirants
Make your plan with diligence, prepare your notes with determination and learn those by heart with passion. Always be positive. Go to the examination hall as a victor; victory belongs to you.