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ISLAMABAD: Federal Ombudsman Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi said on Tuesday that the number of complaints filed against government departments during 2022 increased to 164,174 against 110,405 in 2021, reflecting an increase of 49 percent.

Addressing a press conference on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of his institution, Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi said that 137,423 complaints of overseas Pakistanis were resolved with an increase of 133 percent as compared to 2021.

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 an Informal Resolution of Disputes (IRD) project was initiated in April last year to informally conciliate and settle disputes between the two parties with their mutual consent. So far, 1,114 cases have been disposed of while 266 cases were in process.

He added that periodic inspections of different agencies by a team of his senior officers such as Passport Office, Islamabad International Airport, NADRA, Polyclinic, PIMS, CDA Facilitation Centre, Railway Stations and Utility Stores in different cities has helped improve their service delivery.

“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,” he said.

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

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 the government expenditure per complainant in disposing of complaint through Wafaqi Mohtasib construes negligible amount, thus it 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 of complaints received was in fact a direct consequence of the massive support that the Ombudsman’s Office always receive 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 peopl in this institution.

The study reports have been prepared in the context of systemic reforms in regard to 28 government agencies and recommendations submitted to the government for ameliorating their operations. Recently, first ever empirical study focussing on street children in the ICT has been completed.

Recognizing the significance of the role of ombudsman institution and its successful journey of four decades in providing speedy and 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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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