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Renowned academician, scholar and former Chief Secretary KPK, Mr. Abdullah has delivered a lecture to FBR officers on “Morality, ethics and public service delivery”.
The talk was delivered as part of a new series of motivational lectures organized on the initiative of FBR Chairman to motivate officers to work with renewed zeal. The lecture was arranged at the main auditorium of FBR Headquarters Islamabad and officers in field formations attended it through a video link.
In his animated style, Mr. Abdullah dilated upon the concept of motivation, and how motivation leads to a natural transformation but it has no meaning without ethical consideration. He said ethics has been an integral part of human resource management for nearly 2000 years and the role of universal moral values such as honesty, integrity, truthfulness and strength of character had been understood and recognized throughout history in the delivery of public service.
He said the civil service delivery in Pakistan was hampered by problems of hypocrisy and duplicity and that there was a culture of shifting responsibility upstairs (or down to the grassroots) without understanding that change came from within, and it required exemplification, not mere lecturing or sermonising. “In absence of individual motivation, the change that is likely to come will take a long time and it will depend in large measure on the kind of structural changes introduced in the way public policy is formulated and delivered in the country,” he said.
He said honesty and competence, the two virtues of Prophet Yūsuf ibn Yaʿqūb that have been expounded in Surah Yousaf, were the cornerstone of public service which required mastering or mustering over resources to ensure sustainability of state and welfare of its citizenry.
Mr. Abdullah said any successful system of accountability was based on principles of accountability, merit, predictability, sustainability and equity. However, the moral content in our accountability system was still weak and fragile and needs infusion of a distinction between haram and halal to make the accountability system more robust and result-oriented.
He also called for ethical standards to be grounded in sound moral basis, saying ethical values were absolute and assigning them to relative terms was a fallacy. He said God had ingrained the sense of evil and good in us and it was up to individuals to see and cultivate good while discarding evil.
To start on the road of individual moral enlightenment, he expounded that the short-cut lay in the recourse towards the Seerat of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The lecture culminated with a Q&A session and presentation of a momento to Mr. Abdullah for his enlightening talk.