Ombudsman’s interventions improved public services: Ejaz Qureshi

Ombudsman

KARACHI, Nov 24 (APP): The Federal Ombudsman Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi on Friday claimed that visible institutional improvements had been witnessed in public sector organizations like National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) and at airports due to intervention of the Wafaqi Mohtasib.
Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi, while addressing to a media briefing along with Senior Advisor Syed Anwar Hyder here at Federal Ombudsman Secretariat Regional Office Karachi, said that the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat (FOS) had not only disposed off the public complaints against the government organizations and department within 60 days, but had also implemented the judgments through an efficient mechanism.
The implementation on judgments was ensured in 72 percent cases this year while in the remaining cases matters were either moved to courts or delayed due to non availability of relevant record, he clarified.
The Ombudsman said that his secretariat received public complaints mostly against power distribution companies, gas providers, BISP, Postal Services and other government organizations providing public services. The organizations having a vast clientele naturally have the most number of complaints filed against them, he said.
As result of mass awareness and efficient working of the FOS, the number of complaints received has registered over 80 percent growth as compared to previous year and it is expected that number of filed complaints this year may reach near 200000, the Ombudsman stated, adding that despite of limited resources and extensive work pressure, a single advisor was hearing over 200 cases monthly.
Ejaz Qureshi said that Wafaqi Mohtasib was also facilitating mediation between two parties under section 33 of the relevant law and aggrieved persons were getting their issues resolved in a shorter time without any expenses.
The Ombudsman informed that a quarterly review meeting on prison reforms was held with provincial administration and matters relating to health and hygiene , clean drinking water, disease prevention, skill development and other issues were reviewed in detail.
He said that after submission of prison reforms report to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Ombudsman Secretariat was continuously monitoring the progress on the reforms that demonstrates its commitment with resolving issues of prisoners.
He appreciated the Sindh government for progress in certain areas and said that quality of food being provided to prisoners has improved and funds were issued for some ongoing schemes. However, more measures were required in some other areas, he stressed.
FOS has suggested to form an oversight committee to regularly monitor the progress on prison reforms as prison department and other allied services and departments were provincial subjects and an oversight committee could deal with the issues in a better manner, he asserted.
For resolving grievances of oversees Pakistanis a dedicated section was established in Ombudsman secretariat and a special advisor was assigned to look into the complaints, Ejaz Qureshi said adding that Mohtasib also approach the Pakistani Embassies through the foreign office for resolution of issues being faced by the citizens out of the country.
He said that issues of individual nature were heard and resolved within the shortest possible time while in matters involving systematic or institutional impediments the FOS presents reports to the government with recommendations for resolving those issues.
Basically dealing with systematic issues and introducing fundamental reforms in public sector organizations and instituting a mechanism for remedy of public grievances was responsibility of elected assemblies and cabinet, he argued.
Talking about expansion in outreach of the ombudsman secretariat, Ejaz Qureshi said “Our regional offices were functioning in major cities of the country and we are also encouraging online hearing of cases to facilitate the complainants belonging to far flung areas.”
The FOS intends to set up its regional offices in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kasmir as well as other cities and towns of all the provinces to expand its services but paucity of funds is the major impediment in the regard, he said adding that if provincial governments provided office space, the FOS was all set to establish more regional offices.
Ejaz Qureshi further informed that Federal Ombudsman of Pakistan, for the second time, was elected president of Asian Ombudsmen Association unopposed for a four year term in 17th general assembly of AOA held in Kazan Russia.
He urged media to spread awareness regarding the role and performance of the FOS as it not only sensitize citizens about an efficient and economical mechanism of grievance redressal but it would also encourage the advisors and staff of the FOS.

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