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Old Wednesday, July 04, 2018
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Default My Viva Voce Transcript, CSS 2017

Read the full transcript of my viva voce. I secured 196 in it.

NOTE -> I have tried my best to produce the original transcript of my viva. So if you find any structural mistakes in my sentences or invalid arguments, I haven’t corrected them here on purpose.

The Chairman Naveed Akram Cheema stood to shake hand with me, offered me to sit. I thanked him and took the seat.
Chairman -> How are you feeling?
Me -> I feel comfortable, I am quite fresh.

Chairman -> You are originally from?
Me -> I am from Bannu.

Chairman -> Then how come you live in Punjab?
Me -> I was only 30 days old when my parents moved to Rawalpindi.

Chairman -> What are some of the positive and negative points of Bannu?
Me -> The people in Bannu are very lively. You can compare it to the Lahore of the Punjab. There is a regular festival held in Chowk bazar, where friends of a groom would come and dance to Dhool. The negative thing is the aggression among the populace, specially for the last 10 years or so. Probably, because of its border with South Waziristan there is an increasing trend of local fights, but mostly it is amongst the people and lasts for years.

Chairman -> Do you speak Pashto in your home?
Me-> Yes, with my parents.

Chairman -> Is it in the original accent of Bannusi?
Me -> No, it is a hybrid of Bhittani and Bannusi, as my mother is from Lakki Marwat.

Chairman -> I see. The Saif-Ullah brothers in Lakki Marwat are very popular there. What reasons do you see of their popularity?
Me -> I think owing to their political positions they have been giving jobs to the local people, and this problem is common to all the areas of Pakistan, that makes the local people happy. I see this as the only reason why Marwats are happy with them.

Chairman -> But they have well established businesses, etc and they have a very say in the local affairs.
Me -> I see it as their political patronage. There are other wealthy families but owing to their political power and by giving jobs to the locals, they have become famous.

Chairman -> In what situations emergency can be declared in a country?
Me -> There are broadly two situations when emergency can be declared in a country. One in the case of internal disturbances (civil war), foreign aggression, etc. The other in the case of financial meltdown of the country.

Chairman -> What about the political instability? Does that warrant an emergency?
Me -> If the political instability escalates to a chaos in the country then of course emergency can be declared and basic human rights can be curtailed. But it should be a severe crisis; it happened in Pakistan that emergencies have been declared in the past on this pretext (I said this with a smile on my face, chairman too smiled while listening.)

Chairman -> Why is it that when a Pakistani travels to a foreign country, he becomes a law abiding citizen. When he moves back, he again starts violating the laws? Why is it so?
Me -> Sir, not only outside the country, but there are places / areas inside Pakistan where he suddenly becomes a law abiding citizen. A truck driver as soon as he enters Motorway takes care of lighting the signal while changing lane. Psychologically, subconsciously, he knows that if I break the law, the law will be applied irrespective of the offender. So when this thing is missing, people break the laws.

Chairman -> What can we do to make this situation better?
Me -> Education.
(I thought he had ended his question, so I instantly answered, in fact he was continuing his question. He paused for a second for my short answer and then continued his question, but since I had already answered to his satisfaction, he nodded his head saying “Good”.)

Chairman -> Which country do you think is a role model for Pakistan to follow? What is your opinion?
Me -> I think owing to the similarities between the two countries, Singapore is a role model for us to follow. Both have a colonial past, both are multilingual nations. Other nations such as Iran cannot be a role model owing to the fact they do not have such diversity.

Chairman -> (didn’t let me complete) Tell me any muslim country?
Me -> Malaysia

Chairman -> Why not Turkey?
Me -> The economic progress brought about by Erdogan is commendable, but I do not approve his autocratic style of governance, where there is a very less space for opposition voices.
He then asked Madam Nargis Sethi to ask questions.

Madam Nargis -> (it was a long question but the gist was) What reforms be done in civil service to make it responsive, corruption free? Tell me in points.
Me -> Depoliticize the civil service by granting it the constitutional protections removed in 1973.
Make the remunerations of the civil servants comparable to the private sector, as they are very compressed specially in the higher ranks.
There are many parallel accountability mechanisms and checks against the civil servants. This curtails innovation. I see the lack of innovation among the civil servants as a major problem.
And of course educate the society (I should have explained how education is linked to civil service reforms)

Madam Nargis -> (again a very long question and after iterating my degrees she asked) Why do you want to join civil service?
Me -> An event in my life started my journey towards CSS. (She became very curious and attentive). Back in 2015, my cousin sold his wife’s gold to get a work visa. He was deceived by the agent and could not find any redressal of his grievance. I remember the tears in the eyes of his wife, it was around 1.5 lac rupees, that’s all they had. It still makes me emotional. That thing moved me so much that I decided instead of usual mantra of sitting outside the system and blaming it is not good, I should be a part of it and try make it good. So that’s how I appeared in 2016 and then in 2017 I am here. (I smiled, however, I could not decipher her facial expression, probably she thought k sahi kahani dali hai is nay.)

Madam Nargis -> (once again a long start) How do you see the judicial activism? Is there any need of rebalancing the powers of different institutions in the constitution?
Me -> Madam, I think the constitution is very balanced in this regard. As far as as judicial activism is concerned, the Chief Justice of Pakistan while hearing cases in Quetta’s registry said that according to article 184(3) and article 199 (pertaining to high courts) he would intervene wherever there is a question of violation of fundamental human rights. Owing to the misplaced priorities of the government, there is a space created.

Madam Nargis -> And someone has to fill that space?
Me -> Yes, that’s what happens. A child is stuck in the road crossing it, you can’t wait for the signals to turn green (I realized I should have said red so I said so), I mean to turn red and use the zebra crossing, someone has to pull the child out of that way.

Madam Nargin -> Okay, I understand. I am not asking for the justification of the judicial activism, interpreting the articles of the constitution literally. I meant to say, are you okay with it? Is it good? Should it continue?
Me -> No, not at all. This is the government’s job and not the judiciary’s. Judiciary has just to apply the law. And that’s it. (I again could not tell what his facial expressions meant)

Madam Nargis -> You aspire to be a part of the administration. What if you are made the chairman of the investment board, how will you drive foreign investment of Pakistan? (Actually, this was what she actually meant, her question was either ambiguous or I could not hear her properly, so I took as if she was asking what would you do to drive foreign investment being the chairman in terms of suggestions to the government - it was confusing)
Me -> Reduction is tariffs and tax relaxations.
A labor force of 60 million is already there. Need to train them professionally. So when Samsung invests in Pakistan, it has the trained labor available locally.
Improve the security situation of Pakistan to make it more attractive for the investors.

Madam Nargis -> No, No. You being the chairman is saying this should be done and that should be done. I asked keeping in view the existing situation how and what will you say to the investors. Ok leave it. Done. (of course, she was annoyed and expected a direct answer to her question. She did not let me answer and handed over the discussion to Ahmed Farooq.)

Ahmed Farooq -> (with his melodious English accent, at first I could not even figure out if he was actually talking in English, and I could hardly hear his voice. Probably, Madam was on my nerves). You have opted Indo-Pak History in your CE 2017. Can you give me 4 to 5 dates, not exactly dates but years in the Mughal Empire which we can call defining events?
Me -> (a bombshell was dropped on me) 1526, Babur invaded India, defeated Ibrahim Lodhi at Panipat, paved the way of Mughal Rule in India. (he was smiling and nodding his head in negation, so I realized I am heading in a wrong direction)
1556, Humayyun came back and took the reigns of power again, it was a significant event as the Mughal rule had evaporated into thin air, it restored the rule. (he still didn’t seem convinced, and I took a sigh Ya ALLAH ye banda phr pochna kia chahta hai)
1605, Akbar handed the power to his heir. (he was smiling)
1707, Aurangzeb died, and that started the disintegration of the Mughal Empire. (he facial expressions portrayed as if he was saying: Na beta Na)

Ahmed Farooq -> Wellllllllllll, you did mention some dates but I won’t really call them as defining moments during the course of Mughal Empire. What do you say about 1656, 1657?
Me -> (there was a disconnection between my mind and the ears, so I took it as 1556, 1557, since that signified another event in the Mughal Empire’s history) Akbar was placed at the helm of the affairs.

Ahmed Farooq -> No, No, 1656, 1657
Me-> (realizing my mistake) Oh yes, Aurangzeb fought with his brother Dara Shokha (haha, I pronounced it as شوخا, he intervened and said No, Dara Shukoh, I still cannot pronounce it). There was no rule of succession in the Mughal Emperors. He killed his brothers and this was the start of an era which was altogether different than that of his ancestors, the liberal policies of his parents were done away with, resulting in the disintegration of the empire.

Ahmed Farooq -> (seemed a bit satisfied with my answer, smiled) Yes, good. 1757?
Me -> Battle of Plassey. (He asked me to explain what happened). Yes Sir, it was fought between the East India Company and Nawab Siraj Ud Dola of Bangal. He lost. For the first time, the whole Bengal formally went into the control of EIC.

Ahmed Farooq -> 1797?
Me -> (a stupid answer I guess) Ghalib was born in 1797 (haha, I genuinely believed that it was a significant event)
Ahmed Farooq -> (astonished) Who was born?
Me -> Sir, Ghalib

Ahmed Farooq -> Battle of Maysor?
Me -> Oh yes, Sir. Tipu Sultan. He fought for 20 years but at last lost the battle. The last against the EIC.

Ahmed Farooq -> And, of course, 1857 was the end.
He then pointed towards Major General(r) Asif Azeem.

General Asif -> What would you suggest our foreign policy, in fact, in relation to Afghanistan?
Me -> (I took a sigh, Ah, my week areas) First of all, we should pull out that strategic depth notion, it may have suited 80’s, 90’s, but it does not work anymore. (General Asif, interfered and said we had realized it, move on). We should exert whatever influence we have on Afghan Taliban and make them realize that this is an endless war, so do a little compromise on your stance and at least start talking to the government. Third, there are two extremes regarding Indian presence: Afghanistan with no role of India, and Afghanistan with India let loose. Our policy should strike a balance between the two. India being in the neighbours have a stake in Afghanistan, specially with US, and we should not neglect it and take it into consideration. We can pull in China as a balancing factor. (This was my independent analysis and I knew it won’t be appreciated by the General Sahab, I guess)

General Asif -> What are the border disputes of Pakistan?
Me -> (I never really paid attention to these things during my study) Durand Line with Afghanistan. After 1900’s decision of Afghanistan accepting the Durand line, the Nationalist have been exploiting this agreement. (I still don’t really understand what I was trying to assert, anyways).
Line of Control with India, with ceasefire violations on a regular basis. We don’t really have disputes on International border with India. Same goes with Iran and China.

General Asif -> What is working boundary?
Me -> The same as the line of control.

General Asif -> May be that’s a part of the working boundary.
Me -> Sir.

General Asif -> What border disputes do we have in the South?
Me -> (I brainstormed for a while, could not remember any) Sorry Sir, I don’t know. (This was the only time in my viva when I said this. By the way, Sir Creek is one of the answers.)

General Asif smiled and said that it was alright. General Asif pointed Habibullah Khattak to kindly start grilling.

Habibullah Khattak -> You appeared in CE 2016 and failed. What special did you do this time? Did you consult any teacher or go to any academy?
Me -> Sir, not academy, but I did got in touch with some English teachers. I had failed English Essay in CE 2016, as I was not well versed with the semantics and syntax of any Essay. I focused on this part this time and passed.

Habibullah Khattak -> You had mentioned the discovery of gravitational waves as one of the significant events in that year. Why is it so?
Me -> Gravitational waves were proposed many decades ago. After the theory of relativity by Einstein, where a space-term curve existed; you put a metallic bob onto a sheet of paper or lets say aluminum foil, it will of course cause ripples in the space curve (I could have used better analogy). So scientists at LIGO, some Pakistanis were also there, discovered that these ripples indeed exist. The significance lies in the fact that it will help the scientists to better understand the start of the universe, when it inflated or expanded from a point of singularity.

Habibullah Khattak -> You have mentioned that you are interested in Physics. Silicons chips have reached a point of diminishing returns. What alternate technology scientists are looking at? (though I never mentioned Physics in my interests, yes, it was one of my optional subjects. Instead, had he focused on my hobbies, I would have enjoyed it; hobbies such as Composing Ghazals in Urdu, Radio Controlled Airplanes, etc.)
Me -> Sir, scientists are now moving towards nanotechnology to improve the performance. There are proposal of using fibre optics. (I wanted to continue answering, this was my field - I wanted to move to quantum bits, etc., but he raised his hand asking me to stop at once. I obliged. I think either he got his answer or I was not answering the right way. I had seen his profile of Linkedin a day before the viva and I knew he too was an Electrical Engineer.) He then referred me to Chairman.

Chairman -> Well, Waseem, I have two things to clear. You proposed to soften our stance towards India. (I instantly said, “Realign.” I should not have interrupted him. He said that it was the same thing). Having said that we should forge economic relations with India and set aside other issues for the moment. Don’t you think it will put the Kashmir issue at the backburner and it is a compromise on our principled stance on Kashmir?
Me -> Sir, I take it from a different angle. I consider creating economic relations with India is the part of resolving this conflict. We can see the economic interdependence of the US and China. We have a potential of billions of dollars trade with India; the start of such economic interdependence will be a baby step towards the resolution of these conflicts.

Chairman -> Well, you have your own opinion and you stand by it. I must respect your opinion. (We both were smiling, and I thanked him for respecting my opinion).

Chairman -> You are from Bannu. You were born there, you parents are from KP. Why didn’t you claim a KP domicile?
Me -> Well, Sir, I don't really know of the laws when it comes to declarations one makes in a domicile, but ethically I find it wrong having been brought up in Punjab, received education here, I claim a domicile of KP.

Chairman -> (Facial expressions revealed he liked the answer). In the end, I must say that you are intelligent, you are of course confident, and you answered the questions fearlessly. (again we both were smiling and I kept thanking him for extending such accolades.) Thank you!
Me -> Sir. May I go now? (After getting his approval, I stood up and thanked them again)
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Old Wednesday, July 04, 2018
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What an interesting read. Thank you for writing such an elaborated transcript. You certainly have a good memory.
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Old Wednesday, July 04, 2018
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Congratulations! Very nice interview.Thanks for sharing.
It would be very nice if you give some tips regarding keeping composure in such a lenghty interview?
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Old Wednesday, July 04, 2018
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How long did this whole interview take?
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Old Thursday, July 05, 2018
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Originally Posted by Outsider View Post
How long did this whole interview take?
About 35 minutes.
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Old Saturday, July 21, 2018
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I totally enjoyed ur interview
What is ur score???
And people like u who share their experience with such detail r so rare this shows u have a big heart
Thank u so much stay blessed
I learnt a lot

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[Quran 11:88]
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Old Saturday, July 21, 2018
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Oh u have mentioned sorry.... Great...

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