President emphasizes to provide speedy and hassle-free justice by using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system at the doorstep of common man.

President Dr. Arif Alvi while appreciating the performance of Wafaqi Mohtasib accentuates on the need of provision of speedy and free of cost justice at the doorstep of the common man during a briefing organized by the Federal Ombudsman Syed Tahir Shahbaz at Federal Ombudsman Secretariat, Islamabad today. The President also emphasized to use the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system for provision of speedy, less expensive and hassle-free justice to the people which can boost the confidence and trust of people upon the judicial system

The Federal Ombudsman briefed the President on the performance of his institution and said that his office received highest ever number of 133,521 complaints received during 2020 as compared to 73,059 in the year 2019 by  registering 82% increase in receipt of complaints.  He said that 130,112 complaints disposed of during 2020 as against 74,892 in 2019, including backlog, registering 74% increase in disposal of complaints.  He said that 99.6% decisions implemented during 2020.  He said that Regional Offices of WMS at Quetta and Bahawalpur registered 643.1% and 302.9% increase in receipt of complaints during the year 2020 as compared to the receipts in the year 2019.  The Regional Offices at Peshawar, Multan and D. I. Khan also registered around 100% increase during 2020.  The Regional Offices at Multan and Bahawalpur strengthened resulting in manifold increase in receipt and disposal of complaints.  He informed the President that two new regional offices have been established at Abbottabad and Kharan in Balochistan.

He also informed the President that during the year 2020, the online complaints jumped from 11,289 to 77,930 as compared to 2019.  He said that despite Covid-19 pandemic attack, Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat continues its operation and its major reliance was placed on online hearings through WhatsApp and Skype etc. The disposal of complaints in 2021 registered 20% increase i.e., from 35,508 to 42,634 complaints as compared to correspondence period of 2020.   During the period 1st January, 2021 to 14th June, 2021,  44, 769 complaints were received and 42,632 have been disposed of, he added.  He also informed the President that three new Divisional Complaints Centers have been established during the year 2021 at Sibbi, Khuzdar and Loralai in Balochistan.  He said that considerable increase in number of complaints was recorded due to the comprehensive robust public awareness campaign launched through electronic, print, social media and awareness seminars and lectures in different universities, Chamber of Commerce and Industries around the country. 

He informed the President that only 1103 Review Petitions were filed in 2020 and Representations before the President in 370 cases.  He said that the President upheld 90% findings of the Federal Ombudsman.  Syed Tahir Shahbaz by giving a brief history of his tenure informed the President that 354,524 complaints received since 21st July, 2017 and a total of 350,294 complaints have been disposed of upto 14th June, 2021.  He said 3,405 review petitions were filed out of which 3,325 were decided and 1,356 representations were filed to the President by the aggrieved parties against the decision of the Wafaqi Mohtsib during the last four years.  He said that 96% cases have been implemented during the last four years.

The Federal Ombudsman also apprised the President of the efforts to improve the living conditions of prisoners in jails as per directions of Supreme Court of Pakistan.  He said that focus of his office was to improve jail conditions by removing irritants of criminal administration justice system.  He said that report on prisons with special reference to children and women prisoners, 08 Quarterly Reports on implementation of recommendations on Prison Reforms have been submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.  The reports indicate that District Oversight Committees have been constituted, facilities for the prisoners have been upgraded, mentally sick and addict prisoners have been segregated from all other prisoners and more jails are being built.  He said that automation to develop interface among jails, courts and NADRA is being done for monitoring and verification of prisoners’ record. He further informed that education and skill training facilities are being provided and free legal aid to under trial prisoners has also been ensured.

He briefed the President on the Education Sector Reform, Measures for prevention and control of Incidents of fire at Margalla Hills, controlling of Environmental Pollution in coastal areas, One Window Facilitation Desks established at 08 international airports for Overseas Pakistanis, and strengthening the media wing for enhancing awareness activities. He also briefed the President on the project entitled “Strengthening the Realization of the Rights of Women and Children Detainees in Pakistan” undertaken leading to improve conditions of prisoners in jails and Prevention and Control of Cybercrimes against Children, in which a draft bill has also been prepared with the help of parliamentarians and a National Plan of Action for awareness raising.

The Federal Ombudsman informed the President that the existing judicial system is costly and time consuming and impacting millions of citizens, there is a need for Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) and the institution of Wafaqi Mohtasib can easily accessible and provides, speedy and cost free administrative justice. It has credibility and institutional mechanism to work for ‘Alternate Dispute Resolution’.  The Ombudsman proposed to initiate a pilot program for the purpose of ADR.

The Honourable President Dr. Arif Alvi while appreciating the performance and special initiatives of the Federal Ombudsman expressed the hope that the Federal Ombudsman would continue his efforts to help the people against administrative injustices.