Pakistan Post launches commemorative stamp to mark 40th anniversary of Federal Ombudsman

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Mohtasib’s institution fundamentally poor man’s court: Ejaz

Zubair Qureshi

Federal Ombudsman Ejaz Ahmad Quresh said on Tuesday that maladministration and bad governance were two sides of the same coin as both of them grew in an environment of favoritism, discrimination and corruption.

He was addressing a press conference on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Ombudsman’s institution in Pakistan.

Mr Qureshi said that it was essential to address maladministration to ensure sanctity of human rights (HR) and to achieve the ultimate goals of good governance and the rule of law.

He said that the office of the Federal Ombudsman was established vide the President’s Order No. 1 on 24 January 1983 with the explicit objective to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectify any injustice done to a person through maladministration by the government agencies.

Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi stated that the institution of Ombudsman has evolved over the years and is recognized today as an essential feature of every modern democratic society. The structure, scope and powers of Ombudsman, however, vary from one society to another and are directly related to the larger social, political and legal systems being followed in that country.

The ombudsman institutions, around the world, act in support of the supreme judiciary and contribute in making dispensation of justice more accessible and inexpensive. He added that the Wafaqi Mohtasib’s institution is fundamentally the poor man’s court.

It is not an alternative to the supreme judiciary but plays a complementary role. The complainants are not required to hire the services of a lawyer nor have to face lengthy legal processes as the cases are disposed of within the prescribed limit of 60 days.

Recognizing the significance of the role of ombudsman institution and its successful journey of four decades in providing speedy & inexpensive relief to a common man, Pakistan Post has issued a Commemorative Postage Stamp of Rs. 20/- on this occasion.

The launching ceremony was held on the sidelines of the press briefing. The postage stamps are available in all the Post Offices in the country.

Reviewing the performance of the Wafaqi Mohtasib’s institution during the last forty years, Mr. Qureshi stated that more than 1.9 million households have benefitted from the services of this Office since its inception.

He recognized the services of his illustrious predecessors who have contributed in developing this institution into a premier institution of administrative accountability in the country.

Comparing the number of complaints received during the year 2022, he said that the receipts rose from 110,405 in 2021 to the highest ever number of 164,174 (49% increase) and disposal reached an all-time high of 157,770, marking an increase of 47.7% over the figures of the year 2021. He said that 137,423 complaints of Overseas Pakistanis were resolved with the increase of 133% as compared to 2021.

He further stated that people’s trust has immensely increased resulting in a dramatic increase in the registration of complaints and complaints worth over Rs.3 billion of disputed amounts were addressed by this office during the last year, which otherwise would have added burden to the civil courts.

He said that Government expenditure per complainant in disposing of complaint through Wafaqi Mohtasib construes negligible amount, thusit the most cost-effective way of providing relief to the common man.

Qureshi stated that the institution has expanded its operations by opening three regional offices in Mirpurkhas, Khuzdar and Swat and two Sub Offices at Wana (South Waziristan) and Sada (Kurram District) during the year 2022.

He added that the ever increasing number of complaints received was in fact a direct consequence of the massive support that the Ombudsman’s Office always received from the print and electronic media in rising awareness about the scope and extent of its services to the general public.

It was also a clear manifestation of the confidence and trust reposed by the people in this institution. Referring to the initiatives he has taken during the first year of his term of office, Mr. Qureshi stated that the institution has diversified its activities by undertaking inspections of various agencies against whom persistent complaints were pouring in order to improve their service delivery.