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CSS qualifiers reservations about civil service promotion

FPSC's 'suitability' clause: Several CSS qualifiers see no promotion beyond BPS 19
Lahore, April 8, 2008: A large number of Central Superior Services (CSS) qualifiers, who are likely to be assessed by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC)'s "suitability" criterion, have expressed reservations about civil service promotion.

Those who are qualified for the civil service from across the country have written to the prime minister, asking him to address the issue before they receive notification/acceptance letters from the Establishment Division.

Sources in the Establishment Division said that candidates who had passed the CSS examination in 2007 would get a final acceptance letter within three days.

Sources in the FPSC said that the commission exercised the 'suitability' clause regarding CSS qualifiers, following reports from a team of psychologists. He said that a psychological test assessed candidates' fitness for certain civil service groups on the basis of which candidates were allotted to each group. Many CSS qualifiers cite the example of three candidates from Balochistan who passed the CSS in 2007, but became the victim of the 'suitability' clause and were denied their choice of position.

A Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) seat was given to a candidate ranking 162 on the merit list, above those ranked 119, 143 and 154. Suhaib Anwar, who ranked 119th in the CSS examination, was declared 'unsuitable' for the PSP, and was designated to the Customs group.

Suhaib, a civil servant of the 31 Common Training Programme, had not been declared 'unsuitable' when he twice passed the CSS exam. This time, however, a team of psychologists has questioned his suitability.

Shaukat Ali, who ranked 143 in the exam, was also declared 'unsuitable' for the PSP and foreign services groups, but was deemed suitable to work in the income tax group. He has already served as tehsildar. Dr Junaid, who ranked 154, was declared 'suitable' for work in the Railways department, but not for the tax group, although two seats for the group were still vacant in Balochistan quota. Muhammad Naveed, who ranked 162 (the last in Balochistan), was not subject to any 'suitability' clause. He has been designated to the police group, although he should have had placed at the income tax groups in line with his merit ranking.

Falak Shair, a Punjab candidate who ranked 57 in the exam, is a civil servant in the income tax group of the 34 Common Training Programme. He has been declared 'unsuitable' for the PSP and District Management Group (DMG), although he was cleared by the psychologists when he passed the CSS exam for the first time.

Mahmood Ali Rajpoot, a civil servant of the 34 Common Training Programme, was not declared 'unsuitable' when he passed the CSS examination in 2005. This year, however, he is being subjected to the 'suitability' clause. The candidates said that a summary of the major civil service restructuring plan, which carries a detailed proposal for the abolition of certain existing cadres and the creation of new positions at federal, provincial and district levels, would soon be sanctioned by the new cabinet. They said the candidates who had been declared 'unsuitable' for administrative services would become unfit for promotion beyond the BPS-19 grade.

The proposal, prepared by the National Commission on Government Reforms (NCGR), envisages the creation of three All-Pakistan services: the National Executive Service (NES); the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) (a new version of District Management Group); and the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP).

The NES and the Provincial Executive Service (PES) will be introduced in each province to fill senior positions (Grades 20-22) in the federal and provincial secretariats, and other key positions in attached departments, autonomous bodies and corporations.

The NES and PES will be open to all existing officers, who will be able to apply for promotion, training and examinations. "What will the FPSC do if these candidates, after getting acceptance letters, get their right through a court?" a senior bureaucrat asked.

The FPSC would have to create 47 new seats of different groups for the candidates affected by the 'suitability' criteria, the bureaucrat added. FPSC Director Bashir Ahmad said the '"suitability" clause would never affect the promotion of these candidates. Raheela Norejo, a psychologist-biologist and chief executive of the Norejo Human Resources, said she did not understand the methodology of the psychometric testing employed by the FPSC psychological team in evaluating a CSS qualifier's capabilities. Daily Times
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