“Poor man’s court” disposed of 74,869 complaints last year Wafaqi Mohtasib using innovative techniques to expand its network

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Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad

The Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat has initiated a number of innovative techniques to increase awareness among general public about the use of services being offered. In line with new innovative techniques and methods, speedy and free-of-cost justice is being delivered at the doorsteps of the people by the institution of Wafaqi Mohtasib. Federal Ombudsman (FO) Syed Tahir Shahbaz said this while addressing a press conference at the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat here on Thursday.
He said his office was considered a poor man’s court which dispenses free of cost justice in a speedy manner. The FO informed the news reporters and media persons that 73,059 complaints were received during the year 2019, and the number was 3.31pc higher than the previous year, whereas 74,869 complaints have been decided by clearing the backlog of November & December 2019, showing 7.60 pc rise as compared to the 2018.
He said that findings issued by him were accepted mostly i.e. by the 99pc agencies and the complainants, only in 1039 cases review petitions were filed which was 1.39pc of total complaints, whereas, 317 representations were filed before the President of Pakistan against the decisions of Wafaqi Mohtasib, which is 0.42pc of total complaints. 87.2% findings were got implemented during 2019.
He said that the year 2019 was observed as the “year of awareness”, therefore, a comprehensive public awareness campaign was run by using electronic, print and social media tools. A significant raise was observed in the number of complaints especially from Balochistan, South Punjab and other remote areas of the country. He said that FO had also introduced a Mobile App through which 2,054 complaints were received.
Now a person can lodge a complaint from his/her home through Mobile App and can also witness the entire process and status of his/her complaint. High number of complaints was registered against LESCO as 9,932, K-electric 6,207, SNGPL 6,589, PESCO 4,404 and NADRA 3,948. Syed Tahir Shahbaz said Wafaqi Mohtasib, established 37 years ago, has emerged as a vibrant institution to provide relief to a common man. During 2019 every finding was decided within a period of 60 days and the review petition within 45 days, he said adding in order to improve the redressal mechanism; the officers of this secretariat visited the remote areas under Outreach Complaint Resolution (OCR) to provide relief at the doorsteps of the common man and decided 5,228 cases during the year.
Under Integrated Complaint Resolution Mechanism (ICR), 160 Agencies (Federal Government Departments) have been taken on board for better monitoring & expeditious resolution of public grievances and 7,852 cases were registered through ICR system, where the Agencies had failed to resolve these cases within 30 days, said the FO.
He said in order to facilitate the government officials, E-Pension system has been established in AGPR and all ministries and departments have been linked with AGPR for in-time processing of their pension cases.