French leave in every walk of life!
.. by Prof Rahmat Karim Baig
There was a time when the men of my age were young government servants but had no training of the job that we did. The rules and regulations were very simple but not conveyed to the staff of each department clearly nor any kind of orientation was given on the type of job that we did. The basic qualification was taken as a standard such as a BA /B.Sc. Degree was basic standard for almost all posts equal to grade 16 and 17, though these grades were then not introduced and each department had its own grades so the terms of Junior Class 1 and senior Class 1 were commonly used for gazetted officers whose appointments were made public in the Government Gazette after each 6 months. The present system of 22 grades for all government servants was introduced by late Z.A.Bhutto as Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1977, may be 76.
The recruitments were made on the old British pattern i.e. advertisement, collection and preparation of merit list on the basis of first division, 2nd division and 3rd division. Then a written test of an hour e.g. an essay on any general but mostly current issue / topic was conducted and the result was announced by public notice. The procedure of Public Service Commission was the same as it stands today. All departments were independent to advertise their vacant posts on regular basis and vacant posts were not left vacant for many months, let alone years as done in these days.
The state servants enjoyed 25 days of Casual leave in a financial year beside Earn Leave which was different in each department. Because of no proper training of the posts the employees performed duties but mostly did less than was due. They came to offices –schools, hospitals, administration, finance, revenue etc. early in the morning and the first session of the day went quite full staff but around 12 O’clock they left their seats one by one but told their colleagues about their destinations and this second part of the work of the day was half complete.
This ABSENCE from the office without taking permission of the head of the office was called FRENCH LEAVE and had become a part of the whole life of service as after some time it became a habit and could not be given up. The teachers left schools handing over their remaining classes to another teacher who could reciprocate the same way in future; the paramedics did the same. Those in C&W, Irrigation, judiciary and other offices faced the same position. They could not abstain from that bad habit even after receiving proper training of their jobs. It is now not very different or any better even today with our claims of honesty. This is a bad burden on the departments concerned and the heads of each must come to his office early to be a role model for his staff.
I humbly apologize to those friends who have been a part of this process and the drawback. .. Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig, Chitral 09 June 2022