Ombudsman asks civil servants to work for socio-economic progress

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 21 (APP): Federal Ombudsman Salman Faruqui has underlined the need to bring change in the mindset of civil servants for socio-economic development in the country.

He said this while addressing the participants of 22nd Mid Career Management Course (MCME) of National Institute of Management (NIM) Peshawar, who called on him at the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat here on Wednesday.

He said institutions progress in fulfilling their objectives when new ideas and innovations are introduced in their operations.
For attaining this objective, he said out of the box thinking is required by the civil servants.

The ombudsman said that civil servants are the backbone of any government therefore they should dedicate their services for the development of the country and for bringing positive change in respective areas of their responsibilities.

Explaining the role of ombudsman, Faruqui said that the basic role of the institution of ombudsman is to provide speedy and inexpensive justice to the complainants against the mal-administration of government agencies and departments.

“For the first time laws have been formulated in my tenure to provide justice to the complainants within 60 days,” adding that the period has been further reduced to 45 days on his own initiative.

In the pursuit of this objective, Faruqui said, a Swift Complaint Resolution (SCR) mechanism had been introduced and now the cases were being heard at district and tehsil levels for which advisors were visiting remote rural areas on regular basis and record number of cases have been disposed at complainants’ doorsteps.

In this connection, he appreciated the role of advisors who were visiting interior of provinces and federal capital using their personal transport.

He informed the participants that for the first time Wafaqi Mohtasib office had been opened in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and three grievance commissioners had been appointed to listen to the grievances of the people of these areas.

He went on to say that there was not a single example where cases have been heard against political agents in the past, adding that the grievance commissioners were now hearing such cases and providing relief to common man.

About the new emerging role of Ombudsman he said, “The role of the Ombudsman is not confined to hearing of complaints only in pursuance of the advice of Supreme Court of Pakistan and the ombudsman is also now examining the systemic issues of government agencies to bring about required improvement in their operations.”

In this connection, he said that several committees were constituted headed by eminent personalities such as former federal law minister S.M Zafar, former chairman Senate Wasim Sajjad and former president Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) Asma Jehangir.

He told the participants of MCME that these eminent personalities and many others were not only heading these committees but also assisting them in preparation of reports on pressing issues relating to government agencies.

Faruqui informed the delegation that the Ombudsman committees’ have prepared reports on prison reforms, report on re-organization of payment system of pensions, report on overseas Pakistanis, report on civic agencies, hospitals and drug related issues and many other issues.

The ombudsman expressed his confidence that the young officers would contribute for the development of the country with their knowledge and expertise.

Later, Ejaz A. Qureshi, Senior Advisor Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat, gave a detailed presentation on the process of investigation of complaints.

He apprised the delegation that the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat was going through a gigantic reforms process where every advisor was contributing in providing swift and inexpensive justice to complainants.

Syed Anwar Mehmood, Honorary Senior Advisor and former federal secretary, apprised the delegation about the Right to Freedom of Information Act and its salient features.

Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, Senior Advisor Wafaqi Mohtasib briefed the delegation about the Swift Complaint Resolution (SCR) mechanism and said that the advisors were visiting far flung districts and tehsils to hear the complaints and deciding them at their doorstep.

Hafiz Ahsan Ahmed Khokhar, Senior Advisor and Grievance Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis gave a detailed look into the matters of Overseas Pakistanis and revolutionary steps taken by the Wafaqi Mohtasib.