Rohana Kakar serves as a Secretary for the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) in Quetta Balochistan province. The mandate of her position is to provide safe and dignified transport services to people in three districts – Quetta, Pishin, and Qilla Abdullah. She takes strict action to prevent malpractice in public transport such as the cancellation of illegal permits and licenses, and against those caught driving without licenses. For this purpose she introduced a Driving License Mechanism and made driving tests mandatory for everyone. Apart from this, Rohana also works as the Drawing and Disbursing Officer (DDO), and Revenue Collecting Officer (RCO) for the same department.

After graduating with a master’s degree, Rohana took her first step to serve as a public officer at the Secondary Education Department of Balochistan. One of the projects assigned to her was the “Promoting Girls’ Education in Balochistan” project. The objective was to provide access to primary school education to girls in far-flung districts of Balochistan. Around 700 primary schools were constructed in various districts of Balochistan, along with facilities that were previously missing in most schools such as boundary walls, sanitation facilities, and teaching and education staff. 

After this, Rohana appeared in the national testing service exam and was designated to serve at Balochistan Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) as an Assistant Director. The mandate of her job was to regulate the procurement of public goods and services and ensure that the process was conducted in a transparent manner. In 2017, she appeared in the competitive exam for joining the civil service and secured second position from all over Balochistan which led to her appointment as the Assistant Commissioner Staff Officer, categorized as Assistant Commissioner Political to the Commissioner of Quetta. Nine months later, she was transferred and posted as Secretary of the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) of Quetta division.

Watch Rohana’s Integrity Icon Pakistan video here to learn more about her incredible work to build integrity in the public sector.

Challenges in Rohana’s sector

Being a secretary of a regional transport authority in a male-dominated district, where women are discriminated against and not seen as equals, has its challenges.  Many of the people she deals with are illiterate and include drug abusers, with no understanding of vehicle registration, driver’s license and permit mechanism, or even traffic etiquette. Dealing with such a market is quite tricky; she has been threatened many times for consistently refusing the requests of transporters who demand favors in obtaining licenses and renewing their expired permits.

Another challenge is taking action against unlawful groups who tend to get their work done by bribing or even by applying political pressure on the department. Along with her team, Rohana continues to struggle to take action against and punish these agents as they continue to resurface every two months.  Since receiving the Integrity Icon Pakistan award for being a “Brave Public Official”, these groups continue to provoke authorities to take this award away from her as they know its value. Knowing that this award means a lot to her, and seeing no other way to pressure her, they think that by claiming it they will be able to take hold of her and blackmail her into doing things they want to get done in the manner they find appropriate. However, Rohana stands firm and continues to take action against them.

After Integrity Icon Pakistan

Rohana often heard concerns in her department that she may not be promoted to Assistant Commissioner as she was a woman and the assumption was that she wouldn’t be able to perform her duties during evenings or at night. These are the kinds of stereotypes that keep Rohana motivated every day. She has proven many times to society that a woman can be a strong and dedicated civil servant who is available 24/7, can work on public roads, fight against powerful agents and bring improvements to the system. 

After winning  Integrity Icon Pakistan 2019, Rohana feels that the pressure on her has increased. Her family members, colleagues, seniors, juniors, and clients have increased their expectations of her. She adds that after winning the award, they know that she is the right person to go to in order to solve their problems. This further motivates her to work with more integrity and to take actions that will benefit her community further. Many of her colleagues are looking forward to taking part in Integrity Icon Pakistan 2020 after being inspired by her. Just the thought of receiving an award for integrity and being titled as an Integrity Icon is one of the most prestigious and honorable achievements anyone can ever achieve in a society that assumes integrity practices lead to no good. Rohana further adds that she herself was motivated and inspired by IIP 2018 winner Batool Asadi; that led her to be where she is now. Now she stands to inspire others through her example that following honesty and integrity do repay you for the work you do. 

She is currently working towards digitizing the license and route mechanisms which will not only benefit the public – who will be helped within seconds rather than days – but also improve the status of her department. Likewise, also working as a Revenue Collecting Officer (RCO) along with her team of 5 to 6 employees, she has been able to increase the revenue of the government exchequer from 1.4-5.5 billion up to 5-6 crore per year which is a big achievement. Her efforts in modernizing public transport are remarkable, keeping in view the lack of resources in Balochistan. Recently, she has been appointed as Assistant Commissioner Hub to Tehsil Hub – defying expectations in her department.

Rohana’s hard work, dedication and acts of integrity have made her a role model in her province. People’s perceptions are changing in respect of stereotypes around women’s educations and roles or professions.