SPECIAL INITIATIVES OF THE HONOURABLE WAFAQI MOHTASIB AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE REPORTS
The following special initiatives have been undertaken to address the systemic issues and to give relief to a common man:-
- Redressal mechanism for the grievances of Overseas Pakistanis.
- Jail reforms with special attention to women and child prisoners.
- Pension facilitation for federal government employees.
- Establishment of Instant Complaints Resolution Mechanism within federal government departments / organizations.
- Integrated Complaints Resolution Mechanism to address public grievances within prescribed time.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SPECIAL INITIATIVES
(a) Redressal Mechanism for Grievances of Overseas Pakistanis
Around 8.4 million Overseas Pakistanis are living in different countries around the world and are contributing towards Pakistan’s economy through remittances. In order to address their individual and systemic issues related to federal government, the following initiatives have been taken:-
- Webpage for registering the complaints of Overseas Pakistanis, connected with federal government departments, and workings of all relevant Ministries / Departments have been coordinated through internal mechanism for handling complaints of Overseas Pakistanis.
- Online system for lodging and tracking of complaints has been developed.
- Systemic issues of Overseas Pakistanis’ are being taken up with the relevant authorities such as National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA), DG Passport, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Customs, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), etc for urgent resolution.
- Constitution of Advisory Councils comprising senior officers and civil society to identify and resolve systemic issues relating to Overseas Pakistanis.
- Pakistan Missions are advised to maintain liaison with local agencies in foreign countries for the purpose of resolving the problems of Overseas Pakistanis such as non-payment of wages, disputes with sponsors, non-availability of medical and legal aid etc.
- Community Welfare Attaches/Focal Persons of Foreign Office abroad are connected through an integrated system (Skype) to pay special attention to complaints for urgent redressal.
- Streamlining the issues of police clearance for character certificate of Overseas Pakistanis, with coordination of Ministry of Interior and National Police Bureau.
- Regular hearings are conducted to review the system developed for Overseas Pakistanis.
- The delay in issues of NICOP, POC of Overseas Pakistanis and issuance of NICOPs at Airports has been developed. Pre-departure briefing mechanism for intended migrant’s workers is being devised.
- Certificates to prominent Overseas Pakistanis in recognition of their services issued.
- Establishment of Overseas Cells in the Supreme Court and High Courts..
- Recommended to Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis to draft a National Plan for Integration of Returnee Migrants.
(b) Prisoners’ Welfare in Jails
In pursuance of the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan passed in SMC No.1 of 2006, the following recommendations were made by the WMS and were endorsed by the Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan.
- All the provinces may be directed to constitute two Committees for:-
- Improvement of life of prisoners in jails especially for children, women and destitute / resource-less prisoners.
- Ensuring that District Oversight Committees are constituted to monitor the implementation of orders of this Honourable Court in their respective districts and to submit deficiencies, if any to the respective Home Department / IG Prisons.
- These Committees should consist of members from civil society, bars, education and health sectors, who have proven track record of significant contributions for improving the life of prisoners.
- Ministry of Interior and Provincial Home / Prison Departments may be directed to appoint senior officers to act as a Focal Person to enable surprise visits of the above Committees. The Committees may submit a comprehensive schedule of visits to the respective Focal Persons.
- Law & Justice Commission, together with Advocates General and Provincial Ombudsmen, to review and submit proposals for significant expansion of probation / parole facilities to reduce pressure on accommodation facilities in jails. The Probation and Parole system also needs to be revisited and made more effective to deal not only with overcrowding but also for the reformation of convicts, juvenile and first time offenders.
- Provincial governments to build jails in every district headquarter, and the federal government in Islamabad. Every jail should have separate and independent portion for women and juvenile prisoners, with sleeping space for every prisoner with adequate toilet and hygiene facilities.
- There is a need to link biometric system in jails with courts for maintaining the record of prisoners. Peshi roaster and jail record / registers should also be computerized / automated. The provincial governments may be directed to proceed accordingly and ensure the development of an interface between jails, courts and NADRA for monitoring and verification of the prisoners’ record.
- Drug users and mentally insane prisoners to be kept outside the premises of the jail in drug clinics/homes for mentally retarded prisoners and provided medical treatment.
- Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, a university falling in respective territorial area of the jail, Allama Iqbal Open University, and other reputed government institutions / organizations may be directed to assist in improving educational and skill training facilities including the missing facilities / payment of fines to deserving prisoners.
- The concerned Ministries at federal and provincial levels may be directed to allocate necessary funds and resources for improvement in jails.
- Pakistan Bar Council and Provincial Bar Councils may be advised to provide free legal aid to prisoners and especially, to the Under Trial Prisoners and for appeal purpose.
Several meetings have been held and strategy has been developed to implement the above mentioned recommendations.
PRISON REFORMS FOCUSED ON CHILDREN AND WOMEN
National Commissioner for Children (NCCO) within the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat is working on prison reforms focused on juvenile and women detainees in Pakistan. The following were achieved in 2018;
- Payments of fine for Rs. 44 million made to release poor prisoners all over Pakistan;
- MOU signed with National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), Higher Education Commission (HEC), COMSATS University, and Allama Iqbal Open University for provision of books, and education of juveniles in Faisalabad Borstal Jail Institute;
- Stress management counseling workshops for jail staff conducted;
- Distribution of gifts to women and children on Eids and other occasions;
- Data on major jails was collected to systemically address issues identified by the Committee Report on the subject.
The Project “Strengthening of the Realization of Rights of Children and Women Detainees in Pakistan” was conceived with the support of UNICEF. The Project Launch meeting was held on 3rd April 2018 that aimed to sensitize the stakeholders about jail reforms and the fundamental rights of prisoners. A Need Assessment Survey of the following Jails was conducted by a 5 member team led by the Advisor, Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat, two officers of NCCO and three representatives of the universities namely, Allama Iqbal Open University, COMSATS University, and National University of Modern Language.
- Central Jail Haripur (Khyber Pukhtunkhwa)
- Central Jail Quetta and Mach Jail (Baluchistan)
- Central Jail Karachi (Sindh)
- Central Jail Lahore and Faisalabad Borstal Institute (Punjab)
The Need Assessment Report was shared with the stakeholders. The findings and following Work Plan were endorsed by them. Part-1 of the Work Plan will be implemented by the NCCO and UNICEF, whereas Part-2 will be implemented with the support of civil society, academia and private sector:
- Establishment of legal desks and attachment of lawyers to prepare legal profile of the detainees and provide legal counseling;
- Up-gradation of medical facilities and availability of essential medicines;
- Provision of correctional psychiatric facility and appointment of psychologists for psycho-social well-being;
- Improvising exiting infrastructure like IT equipment, furniture and other such facilities to augment the above interventions;
- Specialized training programmes for the jail staff.
- Revival of industrial areas and skill development with the help of private sector and Technical Educational & Vocational Training Authorities;
- Provision of books, text books and other educational facilities with the help of academia;
- Repair of infrastructure etc., and payment of petty fines with the help of philanthropists.
The following institutional arrangements are proposed for the effective monitoring of implementation, and sustainability;
- A Steering Committee in each province headed by a Provincial Mohtasib and members from civil society, philanthropists, and head of the relevant departments.
- A Women Parliamentarian Caucus in each Provincial Assembly to voice and support fundamental rights and related legislative work especially for children and women detainees.
(c) PENSION SYSTEM REFORMS
The following measures have been taken to streamline the pension issues of federal government employees which have provided relief to thousands of employees nearing retirement. The following initiatives are in place to finalize pension papers of the retired employees:
- Establishment of pension cells in all federal government departments.
- Appointment of focal persons / welfare officer’s in all federal government departments.
- Process of documentation with the coordination of Finance & Establishment Divisions simplified.
- Steps for automation of pension process and service books initiated.
- Ensuring to initiate all pension cases of retiring officers/officials 15 months prior to their retirement as per government instructions.
- Ensuring AGPR to finalize pension cases in 30 days from the day of its submission.
- Steps for automation of pension and service books taken.
- Monitoring through correspondence and regular meetings.
- Efforts for clearance of all pending cases of pensioners within the Ministries and attached organizations.
(d) REPORTS PREPARED ON THE DIRECTIONS OF THE HON’BLE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN:
i)Education Sector Reforms in Pakistan – Implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan chaired a meeting on April 16, 2018 at the Supreme Court on education sector reforms for implementation of Article 25-A of the Constitution. He constituted a Committee under the chairmanship of the Wafaqi Mohtasib and assigned it the task to suggest ways and means to bring improvements in the current education system so as to provide quality education in the country. The report with recommendations was submitted to the honourable court on October 4, 2018.
ii)Incidents of fire at Margalla Hills, Islamabad.
On a reference made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat undertook a study on the prevention and controlling of incidents of fire in the Margalla Hills, Islamabad. The Apex Court vide its Order dated 30/10/2018 made all recommendations of the WMS report as its Order and directed the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat to oversee their implementation on regular basis. The Orders of the Supreme Court and recommendations of the WMS report are at Appendix-V.
In order to implement the recommendations, the Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat is vigorously pursuing the issues involved in the matter the, Capital Development Authority (CDA), Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and the Chairman, Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) advising them to furnish -wise implementation status of the WMS report. The representatives of the agencies informed that they were in the process of fulfilling requisite financial and administrative formalities needed for implementation of the Plan of Action submitted by them through an MoU signed by the CDA, MCI and the IWMB which is part of the report on the subject. The agencies were asked to complete the task and submit their report without further delay.
- Environmental Pollution in Pakistan with special attention to Coastal Areas
The Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan constituted a Commission under Chairmanship of the Honourable Federal Ombudsman, Syed Tahir Shahbaz
The following reports were also submitted to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan in pursuance of the references made by it to the Wafaqi Mohtasib during the year under report:-
- Identification of illegal constructions in the Korang Nullah bed.
- Environmental pollution in coastal area being poisoned by industrial waste material discharged in the sea.
- Actions against illegal marriage halls in Islamabad.