After graduation from educational institutions at the start of August, many young people in Balochistan begin preparing for the Federal and Provincial Public Service Commission exams. To do this, these aspiring candidates travel to major cities across the country, such as Lahore, Karachi, and the provincial capital, Quetta. Here, they engage in dedicated classes and utilise libraries for their studies. However, a challenge has arisen for these candidates this time around.
The Special CSS Competitive Examination is scheduled for October 12 of this year. Conversely, the Balochistan Public Service Commission has slated its examinations for August 26. These PCS exams are set to be conducted for positions including Assistant Commissioner, Section Officer, and Service and General Administration Grade 17 roles.
Numerous candidates want the Balochistan Public Service Commission to reschedule its examinations to occur after the conclusion of the special CSS examination. These candidates have voiced their dissent in front of the Quetta Press Club and the Balochistan Assembly, in addition to promoting their demands via social media platforms.
Nader Ali, a candidate, says that, in principle, examinations with an earlier date sheet should be prioritised. The special CSS date sheet is released 15 days before the PCS date sheet. Therefore, Ali suggests that the special CSS exam, for which candidates have dedicated extensive efforts, should be conducted before the PCS exams.
He asserts that with the release of the special CSS date sheet, all candidates’ focus shifted to this exam. Subsequently, the announcement of the PCS exams took them by surprise. If candidates decide to sit for the PCS exam, their preparation for the CSS Special exam will be compromised.
A participant in the protest, speaking on condition of anonymity, highlighted that after a 40-year gap, the special CSS exam is finally being held. However, deliberately scheduling the PCS exams ahead of it has created a challenge for Balochistan candidates.
The special competitive exam fills the remaining vacancies in the CSS exams. The current exams will involve participation from minorities in Punjab and Azad Kashmir, women and minorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as general candidates from Sindh, Balochistan, and former tribal districts. Initially planned for February this year, the exam was postponed due to the inclusion of additional posts.
While the Balochistan Public Service Commission frequently schedules exams in summer to account for weather conditions, past instances have also seen these exams conducted in January and December.
Tahir Bizenjo, a leader of the National Party and a Senator, expressed his concerns via Twitter, stating that “the announcement of PCS examination by Balochistan Public Service Commission a month before the CSS Special examinations is unfair. And candidates cannot prepare for two exams simultaneously in such a short period of time.”
He expressed his support for the students’ demand and conveyed his intention to personally address this matter with the Senate Chairman and relevant institutions.
Sanaullah Baloch, the Balochistan National Party leader and MPA, raised the issue in the Balochistan Assembly, highlighting that CSS and PCS aspirants are protesting due to the looming uncertainty over their exam preparations.
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In response, Jan Muhammad Jamali, the Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly, has advised the Balochistan Public Service Commission to consider postponing the PCS exams to November. The Speaker emphasised that candidates require more time for adequate preparation within this limited timeframe.
Despite the Speaker’s directive, Nader says it is quite unlikely that the PCS exams will proceed on the originally announced date. If the matter remains unresolved even after the Speaker’s ruling, seeking legal recourse might become the last option.
The correspondent contacted the institution’s secretary to ascertain the Balochistan Public Service Commission’s stance. The secretary’s personal assistant conveyed that the PCS examinations would take place on the scheduled date. He said preparations are already underway, considering the impending winter season, which could pose difficulties in conducting the exams as there have already been delays.
Published on 10 Aug 2023