Friday, May 24

The Concept of Protocol in Pakistan | Chaudhry Muhammad Latif

By Chaudhry Muhammad Latif

The concept of protocol in Pakistan is a legacy of colonial British rule, who had devised a system of divide and rule for their colonies. They created tiers of jagirdar, zaildar, numberdar and chaukidar. In states there were Mahrajas, Ameers, Nawabs, Sardars, and Chiefs of tribes.

Theoretically there were two systems of governance in the world, in addition to a separate colonial rule. One system is followed by the British and their previous colonies. The other system is practiced by the United States, China, Russia, South Korea etc. The British system cherished status-minded system with special prestigious epithets and designations like Prime Minister, Ministers, Chiefs, Generals, Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and Ambassadors etc.

The second system is business-oriented with designations as secretary of the state, Managers, Executives, with least protocol except security objectives.

The British rulers had conspicuously different designations for their colonies, emphasizing status-mindedness. It is surprising that they had even a list of “Kursi Nasheen” in their entire Indian Sub-continent enrolled as such by respective Deputy Commissioners. A kursi could only be offered in Government offices or in meeting with gentlemen, to persons registered as “Kursi Nasheen” by the relevant Deputy commissioner.

The situation of the civil administration in the USA stands explained  by one Mr. Ahmed Raza Qureshi from Texas, USA, living there since 2001 as under:-

“They do not follow much formed protocol. Very casual I have never seen any flag car, never seen any traffic stop due to any VIP. Never seen any number plate which says it is an official. Government servants in Pakistan enjoy more perks than US officials”.

So far as the administration in United Kingdom is concerned one Mr. Abdul Hafeez Suharwardy from Birmingham, living there since 1980, younger brother of the first and last local Chief Secretary of AJK Abdul Haq Suharwardy, has described as follows:-

“Here no DC/AC/Mall officer, Tehsildar, Patwari etc. City is run by Council. Council members are elected every five years. Council is headed by Mayor who is also elected. Only Mayor,s car has flag and can have use of it in official duty”.

Unfortunately, Pakistan being a part of British colony inherited the ruling system devised for a colony and not for an independent and democratic country. But as the dominant part of our elite was the creation of colonial rule, they had the psyche of liking for the colonial rule showing status-mindedness. As in recent past when in Murree, there was a catastrophic mishap. The then Chief Minister Punjab announced that there should be a Deputy Commissioner for Murree whereas it was the hopeless failure of Deputy Commissioner of Rawalpindi who could have reached the scene within an hour and with ample resources but it was the duty of PWD.

In Pakistan in the first phase the institution of Deputy Commissioner was occupied by the officers of CSP class, vested with special status and too much influence in government administration. So one Prime Minister abolished the CSP class and rendered it as a District Management Group. We can compare the merit, status and perks of Assistant Commissioner B-17 and a Civil Medical Officer B-17.

In fact, respect and honor does not depend upon protocol. It needs other merits of high caliber and qualities of character. How personalities become popular, there are few examples.

In 1965 war, the  Pakistanis were so emotionally united that they would shower crates of fruits to passing by Army vehicles. As Iftikhar Abad war front was very vital so there were “langars” in Gujrat arranged by Chaudhry Zahoor Ellahi, Nawabzada family of Gujrat and Khan Mulk of village Ajnala. Raja Muhammad Afzal of Jhelum donated everything to war fund.

Once I had the opportunity to accompany Ch. Zahoor Ellahi from 41-C Gulberg Lahore to district courts. The then government  had registered fake and frivolous cases against Ch. Zahoor Ellahi and one similar case was fixed in the court of Ch. Muhammad Zar,a Magistrate. Ch Zahoor Ellahi stayed in district court and sent me to the said Magistrate to tell him he should not extend any courtesy or protocol to him as he would face difficulties. The then Governor Ameer Muhammad Khan was famous for his charity and generosity.In his area all disabled and insane personswere served free meals in all hotels in his area and their bills were paid by the Nawab House.

After his release from Kohlow jail , Balochistan, Ch. Zahoor Ellahi became Federal Minister. I went to congratulate him at his residence at Peshawar road Rawalpindi. It was breakfast time and I was invited to up stairs to join breakfast where two delegations of overseas Sikh leaders and Chiefs from Balochistan , who were there to congratulate Minister on his release and elevation as Federal Minister.He donated his house in Rawalpindi to homeless VIP and shifted himself to Islamabad.

In this background, on the occasion of death of Ch. Zahoor Ellahi, the BBC, in their Urdu service broadcast his biography and declared that the most generous and champion of charity in Pakistan has died.

So the political and non-political personalities should realize that greatness does not lie in protocol which cast heavily to the nation, rather it is achieved by qualities of character.

The writer of the article is former Additional Chief Secretary of AJK.


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