One of the toughest tasks in CSS written part is to get through the Essay paper. CSS aspirants put around 60% of their efforts in preparing English Essay, and English Grammar & Composition papers. However, they account for only 17% of the overall weightage. Some clichés, false practices and our mindset make it a herculean task. Without delay, let us ponder on the issue and hope things will get easier after that.
It is commonly believed that if you pass the Essay paper, you will be a CSP. This extra conscious approach makes it harder to get through as English always has its “fear factor”.
Language barrier and ill practices
Feeling weak in English, we make relentless efforts to learn it. Here, I disapprove those tutors who take 3 months or so to teach how to write correct English. It means out of 240 days (8 months) to prepare for CSS written part, only 90 days (3 months) are reserved for preparing ‘Essay’, and ‘Composition’ papers with no surety to get through. Therefore, individual tuition should be discouraged in order to utilize energies evenly in right direction.
Misunderstanding the topic
Most candidates, in haste, often don’t comprehend the topic, hence, ultimately end up as a failure. Understanding topic is crucial to achieving success in Essay paper.
Essay is the first paper. It is also true that we always take time to kick off. By the time we start writing essay, it is almost 10:00am. So, do manage your time .
ROAD TO ESSAY WRITING
Sans practicing right things, you cannot ensure successful culmination. Follow the following path to get through:
- Stick to the basics; parts of speech, tenses, punctuation, sentence structure, vocabulary, paragraph writing, and all other basic components of English should be learnt. This can be done by reading a simple grammar book.
- There are few common rules of writing essay that should be learnt rigorously.
- Practicing short essays will give you command over essay writing and putting firm foundation for full length essay.
- Going through past papers, and by following current trends, shortlist some topics and collect relevant material. How much will be sufficient can be gauged by developing detailed outline of each topic.
Material can be gathered from two sources: One; books, magazines, newspapers, journals, etc. Two; from official documents like Quarterly reports of SBP, Economic Survey of Pakistan; reports of international agencies like WB, IMF, ADB, UN, USAID etc; treaties, agreements, etc. They are significant in order to strengthen your discourse skills.
- Practice essay after CSS pattern and get it evaluated. This should be done regularly especially in Dec and Jan. In this way, you will feel less pressure in actual examination.
TECHNIQUES FOR CSS ESSAY
1. Selection of Topic
This is crucial. Read question paper extensively. List the topics you can write on and brainstorm. Make rough outlines of those and then finalize one topic.
2. Uncommon Topics
There are some unusual topics in paper, which need advanced knowledge of a particular field or sometimes general understanding of many concepts. Let’s elaborate few topics from past papers to understand this:“Literature is the best criticism of life” (2010)
- What is Literature; definitions:
- Origin of Literature as a reflection of life:
- Development of Literature and shades of society in it:
- Excerpts from Medieval English poetry and Elizabethan drama to authenticate its relationship with life:
- Arabic literature; pre-Islamic & Islamic periods:
- Pakistan Movement and Urdu Literature:
- Literature and Pakistani Society:
- Global trends in modern literature & relevance to life:
- Critical Analysis:
“Beggars cannot be choosers” (2012)
2. Meaning and relevance of the Quote:
3. Economic dependency of Pakistan:
4. Economic aid and its impacts on Foreign Policy:
5. Can Pakistan achieve economic independence ever:
6. Relevance of the quote with Indo-Pak ties:
7. Suggestions to make Pakistan truly independent:
8. Conclusion:“Freedom of speech should have limitations” (2013)
2. Media in Pakistan; perfect match for the quote
3. Freedom of speech, if unbridled can be dangerous; elabo
rations and illustrations from Pakistan
4. Government policies and freedom of media in Pakistan
5. Challenges to freedom of speech in Pakistan
6. Ways and means to ensure freedom of speech with re
Outline is the skeleton of essay. It should be very comprehensive and elaborated.
A sample outline of topic “Failure of Governance in Pakistan”
2. Prerequisites of good governance:
2.1 Rule of law
2.3 Equal distribution of resources and opportuni
2.4 Service delivery
3. Evidences of failure of governance in Pakistan
3.1 Absence of rule of law
3.2 state organs and national institutions are con
tradicting and overriding each other
3.3 Rampant extremism, terrorism and security is
3.4 Insurmountable domestic and international
3.5 Nepotism, favoritism and corruption have be
come inherent features of institutions
3.6 Consistently deploring economic condition
and rising unemployment, poverty and
3.7 Rupturing social infrastructure, degrading
social institutions and widespread social
4. In-depth analysis on current state of governance:
5. Solutions to ensure good governance in Pakistan:
5.1 Strong and independent parliament
5.2 Rule of law and no institutional activism
5.3 Drastic measures to curb Terrorism
5.3 De-politicization of administration
5.4 Strict enforcement of Law and accountability
5.5 Ensuring service delivery through public private
Partnership, higher GDP allocations and by attracting
5.6 Building human resource and enhancing job base to
utilize human resource
5.7 Optimum utilization of indigenous resources to re
duce fiscal and trade deficits and economic uplift
5.8 Planned urbanization, controlled population growth
and infusing high moral
Write short sentences. Use simple vocabulary. Avoid informal writing and contractions.
Give statistics with reference. Quote properly. Analyze with reason.
General structure of introduction should be:
Topic Sentence (addressing the topic directly)
Supporting Sentences (6 – 8 sentences comprising explanations, examples, statistics, quotations etc., in support of topic sentence i.e. statement of essay)
Thesis Statement (gist of essay in 1 or 2 sentences)
A sample introduction for the same topic is as under:
Good governance in Pakistan has become an unrealized dream. (Topic Sentence)
History is evident of the fact that nations did not vanish due to poverty or hunger, but because of mal-administration and bad governance. Pakistan has been home to many serious troubles including terrorism, corruption, energy crisis, water crisis, rising poverty and uncontrolled urbanization. But if causes are traced there is only one answer and that is absence of good governance. If recent events are traced back, it will be unveiled that Pakistan must have not fallen prey to such serious problems had there been better governance system. But quite unfortunately, governance kept deteriorating and so did the system. There must be realization among the giants of administration and governance that why there is always need of judiciary to correct their ills? Why at the end of every disaster foreign aid becomes the sole resort? Why after every security failure foreign hand is blamed? The answer is same that when system of governance is absent; the vacuum is filled by those who have no role to play in it. (Supporting Sentences)
The following paragraphs should highlight main ingredients of good governance followed by the evidences on absence of good governance in Pakistan. Leading to the end. there will be analysis of current situation along with solutions to ensure good governance . (Thesis Statement)
Follow the sequence of the outline
Write paragraph for each major point in outline
Write relevant and practice to get perfection. More prepared you are, lesser are the chances of failure. Remember that aforementioned views and techniques are not absolute. Essay is all about presenting arguments in convincing way. But as CSS candidates have limited understanding of language, restricted time and different things to deal with, it is not advisable to experiment with language. Write less but write quality. Fluency, coherence, brevity and reason will make you win.
By: Sikander Zishan
The writer is a PAS officer from 37th CTP
Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region is frequently in the news these days, but not necessarily for its mouth-watering cherries and dried apricots. The much touted US $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will pass through this beautiful province in the north to reach Chinese-operated Gwadar port in the country's south. While there is hope it will transform the economy and help bridge Pakistan’s power shortfall, CPEC has also triggered concerns that the local people might be left out of the gains.
To be built over the next several years, the 3,218 kilometre route will connect Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region to the port of Gwadar. Currently, nearly 80 per cent of China’s oil is transported by ship from the Strait of Malacca to Shanghai, a distance of more than 16,000 km, with the journey taking between two to three months. But once Gwadar begins operating, the distance would be reduced to less than 5,000 km.
If all goes well and on schedule, of the 21 agreements on energy– including gas, coal and solar energy– 14 will be able to provide up to 10,400 megawatts (MW) of energy by March 2018, to make up for the 2015 energy shortfall of 4,500MW. According to China Daily, these projects should provide up to 16,400MW of energy altogether.
Businessmen like Milad-us-Salman, a resident of Gilgit-Baltistan who exports fresh fruits like cherries, apricots and apples, is hoping that CPEC will be a game-changer for the region. So far, the carefully packaged truckloads of fruit traverse the rundown Karakoram highway to reach the national capital Islamabad, from where they are flown to Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Last year, his company, Karakoram Natural Resources Pvt. Ltd., sold fruit worth Rs20 million (US $190,000). “We sold 30 tonnes of cherries and 100 tonnes of apples,” Salman said.
Hopes and doubts
With the CPEC passing through Gilgit-Baltistan, Salman hopes the route will open business opportunities for the region's traders.
Diverting fruit to China will be more profitable, for one, will be more profitable. “We can double our sales and profits if we can sell to China where cherries are very popular," he said.
Currently, he ships his produce to Dubai through air-cargo. "It would be faster and cheaper if we could send it by road to China via Xinjiang as we can get a one-year border pass to travel within that border," Salman explained.
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Gilgit-Baltistan produces over 100,000 metric tonnes of fresh apricots annually. While there are no official surveys, Zulfiqar Momin, who heads Farm House Pvt Ltd., which exports fresh and dried fruits to the Middle East, estimates that Gilgit-Baltistan produces up to 4,000 tonnes of cherries and up to 20,000 tonnes of apples.
“All fruits grown in Gilgit-Baltistan are organic with no pesticides used,” Momin said.
The CPEC, some believe, will also boost tourism in the 73,000 square km region. The region is considered to be a mountaineer’s paradise, since it is home to five of the ‘eight-thousanders’ (peaks above 8,000 metres), as well as more than 50 mountains over 7,000 metres. It is also home to the world’s second highest peak K2 and the Nanga Parbat.
But development consultant Izhar Hunzai, who also belongs to the area, has no such expectations. The CPEC, he feels, is nothing more than a “black hole” as far as the people of the region are concerned.
“The government has not engaged with us; we do not know exactly how much or what Gilgit-Baltistan’s role will be in CPEC or how we will benefit from it,” he said.
While both Pakistan and China will benefit through this region, he feels his people will be left “selling eggs”.
“I fear when the region opens up, it will give short shrift to the locals," he added.
Also read: China’s new silk road: What’s in it for Pakistan?
Land of opportunities
But it does not necessarily have to be this way. According to Hunzai, the region has infinite water resources to tap.
“By building hydro power projects, Pakistan can sell clean energy to China and even use it for itself, the development consultant said. "If Bhutan can sell to India, why can’t we sell to China?” Hunzai poted out that the Chinese already taking the country’s national grid to its border province.
It made little sense to him that the Pakistan government wanted to buy 1,000MW of hydropower from Tajikistan under the Central Asia South Asia (CASA-1000) project and construct an expensive 750km transmission line when the resource was right there in the country’s own backyard.
However, the government is almost ready to revive the Diamer-Bhasha dam, a gravity dam on the Indus river in Gilgit-Baltistan, in the second phase of CPEC. Once completed, it is estimated to generate 4,500MW of electricity, besides serving as a huge water reservoir for the country.
Hunzai also lamented the government’s decision of buying discarded coal powered plants from China and using imported coal to run it. Doing some quick calculations on the back-of-the-envelope, he asked, “Why produce 22 cents per unit electricity from imported fuel and sell it to the people at a subsidised rate of 15 cents? Why not make electricity from hydropower which would cost just 0.02 cents?”
According to the ADB, Gilgit-Baltistan has the potential to produce nearly 50,000MW of energy. Just Bunji Dam, a run-of-the-river project that the ADB has invested in, has the capacity to generate up to 7,100MW electricity when completed.
The government is not wilfully neglecting the region, countered long-time hydropower advocate Tahir Dhindsa of the Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute. Instead, he feels the problem is more about the profits that middlemen make. It is all about the “kickbacks and commissions” that one can earn quickly from “cheap and carbon-spewing coal power plants”, compared to almost none from hydropower projects that can take up to 10 years or more.
Explore: Paris climate summit: An opportunity missed for Pakistan
“The future is renewables as has been reiterated in Paris at the COP21 and Pakistan should seriously be thinking about its future course of action,” he said.
There is also the fear that the CPEC may lead to widespread displacement of the locals. “Of the 73,000 square kilometres, cultivable land is just 1pc," Hunzai explained. "If that is also swallowed by rich investors from outside, we will become a minority and economically subservient once there will be no farmland or orchards left to earn our livelihood from."
He is not the only one. Given the secrecy and confusion surrounding the project, its design and its budgetary allocation, three of Pakistan’s four provinces recently held a well attended All Parties Conference (APC) and vented their anger at the central government for its opaqueness regarding the share of investments for each of the provinces.
“CPEC is not the problem. It has just highlighted the imbalance in provinces with the largest one, Punjab, being seen as favoured specially as far as investments on road infrastructure are concerned and fuelling bitterness among the rest of the three provinces,” rued Vaqar Zakaria, an energy expert heading Hagler Bailley.
Trying to address the concerns of the provinces soon after the APC, federal minister for planning, Ahsan Iqbal, who heads the Planning Commission of Pakistan, said in a television interview that this was not a time for scoring political points by making the project controversial. CPEC, he said, was not a project to benefit a party or a government as was being portrayed by politicians and the media but to the entire country.
Of the US $46bn, between $35bn to $38bn were earmarked for the energy sector– of this, $11.6bnwill be invested in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, $11.5bn in Sindh, $7.1bn in Balochistan and $6.9bn in Punjab.
Beijing has urged Islamabad to resolve the internal differences on the CPEC to create favourable working conditions for the project to roll out smoothly.
—This piece was first published on The Third Pole and has been reproduced with permission.