Our appeal to the Honorable Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Federal Cabinet Members, Chairman FPSC, Secretary Establishment Division and Parliamentarians!
In 2001, the maximum 28 years of age restriction for participating in the competitive examination was enacted by former President Pervez Musharraf on the pretext of bringing young blood in the bureaucracy. Prior to this decision, the maximum age limit was restricted at 30 years.
At that time this decision seemed appropriate as all universities were awarding only two years graduation degree; consequently, candidates had ample time for preparation and utilization of their three chances. However, much has changed since that time. Now almost all universities are awarding four years graduation degree, instead of two years. Therefore, candidates have lesser time for preparing themselves for this prestigious examination, and most importantly, they have almost negligible chances to avail all three opportunities. They hardly make one or two attempts and come to know that they have crossed 28 years of age, hence they become disqualified.
The Federal Public Service Commission has consistently commented on deteriorating standard of education in the country and difficulty in attracting competitive candidates. For this purpose, former chairman FPSC, Rana Bhagwandas, approached Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gliani and moved age relaxation up to 30 years summaries twice. Unfortunately, the PM turned them down on the pretext of old argument: ‘bringing young blood in the bureaucracy.’ (Ref# 1)
The argument of ‘young blood’ is also not legitimate if examined in the light of available demographic statistics of Pakistan. It is agreed that majority of the population of Pakistan is composed of youth; how many graduates among them and their age structure should be considered before making such policy decisions. According to UNESCO, majority of graduates are in the age cohort 25-35. (Ref# 2)
It is also very interesting to note that the same Prime Minister who turned down the CSS age extension summery to 30 from 28 years of age, himself awarded five years general age relaxation for all federal jobs (BPS-17-21) in 2011. It is quite discouraging and permeating a sense of victimization among potential CSS candidates; the BPS-17 ex-cadre is given 5 years general age relaxation up to the age of 35 years, but CSS is even not granted 2 years legitimate relaxation up to 30 years of age.
It is agreed that it is a competitive examination which should be governed under strict rules; notwithstanding, what the rules will do if they are meant to set aside potential competitive candidates. If something wrong was done in the past, its sustenance in the present would not make it right. Moreover, in all South Asian countries, except Pakistan, the maximum age for participating in the competitive examinations is 30 years, not 28 years.
Majority of CSS candidates belong to poor and lower middle class families. They have to continue their studies while supplementing their family income. When they decide to take part in this competitive examination, they not only have to work hard but also have to resign from their jobs for its preparation. Ask any second candidate and he will tell that he had to remain jobless throughout the year in which he was preparing himself for the competitive examination. They hardly avail one or two chances and come to know that they are debarred from this race due to 28 years illegitimate age restriction. They become frustrated as their numerous sleepless nights, while they were preparing for it, brings nothing, except futility.
Moreover, if a candidate passes all the stages of the competitive examination and wants to improve his allocation ranking by retaking of the examination, this illegitimate age restriction once again debar the competitive candidate from the race. This is due to the fact that the whole process from written examination to the final allocation takes at least two years and in 99 per cent cases the candidates have to rely on their allocated groups because they cannot retake the examination as they cross 28 years of age.
To whom they complain! At whose door they knock! They are poor. They do not enjoy the liberty of approaching the Supreme Court due to financial constraints. If the maximum age limit is extended to 30 years of age, which is a longstanding demand, and they still become unsuccessful in their all three attempts, then they will focus on their shortcomings instead of blaming the prestigious institutions their whole life.
Now this is a high time to raise this matter again with the new Prime Minister, a more concerned Prime Minister, on the grounds of changed circumstances and arguments. Maximum age limit for participation in CSS examination should be extended to 30 years of age for those who have acquired 16 years of education or masters degree; 28 years of maximum age restriction should be enacted for those who have acquired 2 years graduation degree or 14 years education. (Ref# 3)
We have trust in your authority and we hope that initiations form your side will bring back this issue in the mainstream. We also expect that your office will forward age extension summary once again to the PM with sound arguments and logical explanation in the favor of setting 30 years of age as a maximum limit for participating in the competitive examination.
Your prompt action will enable numerous potential over-aged candidates to come out from the state of despair and take active part in making their as well as this country’s future bright.
Advocacy Society for CSS Age Relaxation Pakistan,
(a platform of CSS age relaxation aspirants)
Mandate of this Platform:
- Collection of contact information of all CSS age relaxation aspirants from all across the country, especially of those aspirants who belong to Sindh;
- Contacting, encouraging and persuading them for their active contribution;
- Raising the issue in print media through an established and more vocal platform;
- Bringing our real strength from rural and sub-urban areas of the country, especially from Sindh, to this platform by addressing them in the print media;
- Keeping informed the participants or members about the efforts;
- Keeping the struggle on the track without indulging into unproductive discussions;
- Attaining the objective through collective contribution with shared responsibility;
- Taking all possible and lawful measure for resolution of this issue.
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