THE YEAR THAT WAS (Editorial – January 2017)

JWT editorial

The year 2016 will go down in history as one of momentous changes for Pakistan. It was during this year that the policies adopted by the incumbent government started bearing fruit. On the internal front, a drastic fall in the incidents of terrorism, restoration of peace in Karachi—the financial hub of Pakistan—largely back-to-normal situation in Balochistan, great strides in terms of economic development, a booming bourse, and, above all, the start of trade activities from Gwadar Port under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have been the hallmarks of the past year. However, on the external front i.e. foreign policy, the scorecard has been a mixture of successes and failures.

Although Pakistan has been successful in winning unflagging support from China and Turkey and, of late, Russia which has shown an unprecedented interest in developing cordial ties with Pakistan, yet the country remained confronted with hostility from Afghanistan’s side and bellicosity from a hegemonic India as intermittent skirmishes on the Line of Control and the farcical ‘surgical strike’ marred the prospects of peace in this part of the world. And, it shall remain so unless the root cause of this animosity, that is, the Kashmir issue, is addressed as per the wishes of the Kashmiri people. They only want freedom from the tyrannical, illegitimate and atrocious rule of India.

The blood of Burhan Wani and other valiant freedom fighters has rekindled the flame of independence in the heart of every Kashmiri and this will not snuff out unless they are given their right as promised by the world community in the form of UN resolutions.

On the political front, a lot of hullabaloo was created after International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released database—commonly known as the Panama Papers—revealing secret offshore companies and properties of nearly 600 Pakistanis, including the progeny of the incumbent prime minister, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. The ensuing allegations of corruption and the demand for the accountability of the corrupt dominated the political scene and kept the pot of political discord boiling to such an extent that Imran Khan’s PTI boycotted the address of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a joint session of the parliament. Although the issue finally landed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, it has, nonetheless, exposed the ineptness and impotence of our state institutions as none of them—from FBR to NAB and from State Bank to SECP—dared to launch a probe the matter on the lack-of-jurisdiction pretext. Ostensibly, it seems that the phrase “mea culpa” will remain out of the dictionaries our ruling elite and the state institutions consult.

Another major event, which debunked the government’s claims of improvement in country’s educational standards, was the disastrous result of the CSS-2016 exam. To the dismay of everyone, nearly 92 percent aspirants failed English papers. A breakdown of the result and FPSC’s Examiner’s Report suggests that there may be two reasons behind this fiasco: either the examiners want CSS aspirants to be better than even the native speakers of English or the aspirants lack even the basic skills of English language.

As we all know, a major chunk of CSS aspirants comprises those who have graduated from top educational institutions of the country and given this background, how a sane person would believe that their “essays were … replete with errors of grammar, spellings and punctuation” and that “in fact there was not a single script which was error free,” as Examiner’s report on Essay—though itself having mistakes—suggests.

Let it be very clear that we are not native speakers of English, in fact, we learn it only as a second language and when even the native speakers can hardly write an error-free text, how on earth is it possible for our students to achieve perfection in it. The FPSC as well as the examiners must also consider that when they themselves have failed to produce anything—right from Rules and Syllabus for CSS exam to actual Question Papers—without errors and mistakes, then how can they judge whether the piece of writing they assess is error-free or not?

Here FPSC and the examiners should do soul-seacrhing and see that by requiring such high standards, aren’t they crying for the moon? Nevertheless, putting the whole blame on FPSC would be unfair as the aspirants must also work on learning correct English—a big ratio of failures exposes their level of preparation for the prestigious CSS exam.

In the end, on the eve of New Year, let’s resolve to do our respective jobs with complete honesty and fairness as it’s the only key to making our country developed in every field and successful on every front.

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