Provincial Competitive Exams known as PCS are finally scheduled to take place from 19th November to 9th December. These exams will be conducted to recruit 41 Assistant Commissioners and 22 Section Officers. The recruited candidates would serve in the provincial bureaucracy and would manage the affairs of province in the next few decades to come.
These exams are being conducted after a gap of five years due to the fact that a corrupt Chairman was at helm of affairs in Balochistan Public Service Commission (BPSC) till 2015. These exams were supposed to take place in March this year, but they kept on being delayed mainly due to incompetence of BPSC.
Now that the date of exams has been finalized, a campaign has been started to again postpone the exams on the pretext that Masters exams of University of Balochistan (UOB) are taking place during the same period.
That PCS exams should be delayed so that students can take Masters exams is not a fair argument at all. First thing is that out of nearly 8,000 candidates taking PCS exams only a fraction would be appearing in Masters exams. Therefore, the entire exams of PCS can’t be postponed to entertain a minority. Either candidates should appear in PCS exams which is taking place after 5 years, or take Masters exams which take place every year.
Moreover, UOB administration should delay the exams of Masters by one month to avoid the clash with PCS exams. There is no reason which prevents the UOB from delaying Masters exams. PCS exams are taking place after 5 years and UOB can easily reschedule Masters exams by one month to entertain the candidates who are taking both exams. If UOB administration says that they will not postpone the exams at any cost then they are being unfair and abusing their power, which is condemnable.
Moreover, many candidates have expressed their concerns on the security arrangements during PCS exams. Ayub Stadium is the venue chosen for the exams and over 8,000 candidates would be taking the exams at the same time making it a big security risk. Given the back to back well-planned attacks in Quetta and the prevalent security threats, the concerns of candidates are not unjustifiable. However, postponing the exams is not the solution because these threats will still exist when these exams would be rescheduled sometime in near future.
Government of Balochistan should formulate a specific plan to provide security to the venue on the days of test and employ all possible resources for that purpose. If required all nearby roads leading to the Ayub stadium can be closed during the exam hours to further tighten the security. In short, all possible efforts should be made to protect the candidates taking PCS exams but security should not be used as a pretext to postpone the exams.
Opposition leader in Balochistan Assembly, Molana Abdul Wassay, on floor of assemblydemanded for postponement of PCS exams. He used Mastersexams and security concerns as arguments in favor of his demand. Unfortunately, majority of assembly members supported the demand of opposition leader. This is just another example of members of Balochistan Assembly not being interested in their job of legislation and interfering in matters which have nothing to do with them.
The opposition leader is simply becoming a part of the overall political campaign to postpone the PCS exams indefinitely. BPSC chairman Justice Kohli has said repeatedly that a lobby wants to keep on delaying PCS exams till the time he relieves the charge as Chairman. This claim of the Chairman seems to be true because there are a lot of interest groups who want their share in 63 vacancies of PCS and that’s not possible as long as Justice Kohli is in office.
In this context, all the people who want to ensure merit in PCS exams must stand with Justice Kohli and support him against the pressure exerted by different lobbies. BPSC must also be supported in conducting the PCS exams on the announced dates. UOB must be pressurized to postpone Masters exams by a month only.
One thing needs to be understood that if PCS exams are delayed now then it’s less likely that they will be held anytime soon. Even less is the probability that PCS exams would be held fairly based on merit, because the lobbies would be in a strong position to replace Justice Kohli as Chairman.
Lastly, Justice Kohli and BPSC administration also need to bring their own house in order. They need to take account of different factors before setting the date of exams in the first place. Incumbent administration of BPSC can’t be absolved from the ongoing PCS exams fiasco and therefore BPSC also needs to be reformed but after conducting the PCS exams.