News Column

Bureaucrats vs technocrats

February 15, 2014

Rao Amjad Ali - LAHORE



This is apropos the article by Dr Afreen Siddiqi titled “The water-energy-food nexus of Pakistan” (February 13). The writer states that what Pakistan needs is the “highest level of sustained political commitment of providing long-term energy, water and food security for the nation”.

I wonder which politician comes to the writer’s mind for making such a commitment. Her prescriptive advice is not new. A plethora of credible research carried out under the aegis of experts from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and multilateral donor agencies has been gathering dust in the hallowed halls of the various government departments for many years now. The critical question is, who will implement their findings?

Not only is enduring political commitment necessary, Pakistan needs a bureaucratic apparatus in which the balance of power between bureaucrats and technocrats is rationalised. Unlike in India, Pakistani bureaucrats end up spending inordinate amounts of time to keep the experts at bay, just so that they keep their grip over decision-making. We can learn a lesson or two from the Indian experience in this arena, where the technocrats enjoy much more respect and autonomy.

Rao Amjad Ali


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Source: Express Tribune (Pakistan)


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