Defiance of merit | Pakistan Today

Defiance of merit

  • A rule prevalent in Naya Pakistan too?

Merit based appointments and placements are the most basic yet a key human resource proposition for business and organisational success worldwide. This principle, however, is not only restricted to the corporate world but has also eased its way into the government and public sector globally owing to its effectiveness.

To define merit in simplest of words; it is to put the right man for the right job.

Having done so, half the success is already yours, with the remaining half bound to follow. While on the contrary, failing to do so will ensure you hit the ground rock bottom. Ironically, the latter has remained the order of our day.

Tomi Lahren, an American journalist, stated; Win on your merit, not your skin colour.

In view of our society, however, let us go a step ahead by adding religion to the aforementioned criterion. Not restricted to our leadership(s) alone, but as a nation we are accustomed to confusing religion with certain necessities that require neutral and unbiased thought, and action. Merit, in particular, knows and must know no ethnicity, nationality, language, skin colour, or religion.

For merit to prevail, whether at organisational level or national, at large, it is imperative for power bearers, and decision makers to focus on the right criterion alone i.e. one’s ability to deliver the desired outcomes. Not to forget, all other arguments are irrelevant, and must be treated accordingly.

It is high time to acknowledge that for Naya Pakistan to prevail, merit must stand above all

Premier Imran Khan, during his massive political campaigning, promised the nation something that, perhaps, was never promised in the past. Change! At all levels. Particularly with respect to country-wide eradication of corruption, application of good governance, and prevalence of merit in all government appointments.

Whereas political parties in the past have touched upon the subjects of putting an end to corruption and promoting good governance, the issue of merit based appointments for the first time got to share the spotlight with the two stated above. All three issues, in fact, are linked with one another. Without merit there can be no good governance, and without good governance the elimination of corruption from our midst will remain an unfulfilled dream.

PM Khan, hence, stressed the importance of promoting merit and transparency across the board, terming them as critical ingredients, and mandatory pre-requisites to national progress in all spheres of governance. Emerging as a more credible political leader (as compared to conventional politicians), promising change and prevalence of merit, Khan made it to the office of PM courtesy larger than life public hopes for good converting into votes.

All that glitters is not gold, however!

While the appointment of federal cabinet members by PM Khan, other than a few, had already raised some concerns over the tall claims of merit being the order of PTI government’s day, the recent removal of Atif Mian from the Economic Advisory Council has raised one too many eyebrows. The government’s move has, this time, drawn severe criticism from its own supporters, and well-wishers too along with others. Apparently this move, in collision with the party’s manifesto and PM’s vows, has removed the right man from the right job.

The decision to remove Atif Mian from the Economic Advisory Council came amid rising pressure from the religious circles criticising the appointment, and demanding the removal of the renowned foreign based economist hailing from Ahmadi background. Succumbing to the rising pressure, the government of Naya Pakistan decided to make merit the sacrificial lamb; yet again.

Although backtracking is not an aberration when it comes to PTI’s politics, things are slightly different now. While in opposition, Khan could have afforded to take U-turns on his decisions, as PM Khan now it is critical to assert himself from a position of strength. Giving into irrational demands and succumbing to pressures from certain groups will continue to weaken the government’s position and credibility in future as has been the case in the past. You bow down once, and you will have to bow down forever!

The problem here, however, is not giving into the demands of a certain group. Any democratic government is expected and required to respect and uphold the demands of the public. The real problem here lies in two considerations. One, whether the particular demand was rational. And second, a clear lack of thorough evaluation of pros and cons of the decision (appointment in this case) by the government.

As Quaid-e-Azam said, “Think a hundred times before you take a decision, but once that decision is taken, stand by it as one man”.

A government can never earn respect if it fails to establish its credibility. Backtracking and U-turns on decisions taken are an ultimate curse on the sought after credibility. The sooner PM Khan and his PTI team realise this fact, the better for the dream of Naya Pakistan. We cannot achieve Naya Pakistan by merely following the trends of the old one.

The decision to remove Atif Mian on the basis of his religious belief rather his ability to deliver as an economic advisor, is a clear defiance of merit.

It is high time to acknowledge that for Naya Pakistan to prevail, merit must stand above all, and this very lesson comes from our great religion, Islam, itself. With merit going down the drain, so does the dream for Naya Pakistan.

No leader on earth delivers alone. He does so only by the team comprising right men for the right job.

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