Power to appoint Ombudsman shifted from governor to CM

227

Staff Reporter

Speaker Sindh Assembly Siraj Durrani notified on Sunday approval of a legislative bill that confers the authority to appoint the provincial ombudsman on the chief minister. Before the amendment in the law it was prerogative of the provincial governor to appointment ombudsman for the province. The tenure of the ombudsman will be three years, as per the law passed by the assembly. The new provincial ombudsman law has come into force forthwith. The provincial legislature had re-passed the amended law for appointment of the ombudsman on January 22 after the governor had sent back the legislation to the assembly with his objections over the bill. The opposition parties had staged walkout from the assembly proceedings in protest over disagreement with the legislation. Governor Sindh Imran Ismail had sent his reservations on the appointment which were discarded by the Sindh government. He had contended that the bill empowered the Chief Minister to appoint the ombudsman of his choosing whereas this power should remain with the governor. Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) all staged walkouts from the assembly as a sign of protest against the bill. Sindh Minister Saeed Ghani while talking to media said that the authority was taken back from the governor to appoint the provincial ombudsman as the 18th Constitutional Amendment had rendered the office of the provincial governor a ceremonial one and devoid it of any such executive authority. “We intended to bring such an amendment [to the existing law] to allocate powers to the Chief Minister to appoint ombudsmen following the 18th Constitutional Amendment,” Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah had told the house just ahead of the bill presentation. The previous law lacks the qualification and other such credentials for the post of ombudsman, he said, adding that however, with the fresh legislation the slot will have an official equivalent to that of scale 20. Or the high court retired judge can also be appointed to the office of ombudsman, he said. The amendment to the bill was adopted despite the opposition. Earlier, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani had said the 18th Constitutional Amendment had rendered the office of the governor a ceremonial one and devoid of any such executive authority.