SINCE the inception of Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman)’s office, several changes and improvements have taken place in this institution.
For instance, Wafaqi Mohtasib’s office has been extended to the level of Provincial Headquarters and Provincial Mohtasibs are established in each province to look after the affairs of provincial Government Departments.
The Sindh Mohtasib’s Regional Offices have been created in 13 districts of Sindh Province. Despite many hurdles and shortcomings, Wafaqi and Provincial Mohtasib offices have lessened the difficulties of people.
Nothing is perfect and ideal when it comes to administration and there is always a room to review, modify and upgrade any administrative system.
After working with Sindh Mohtasib Secretariat, I can say with my experience that at least one important issue needs to be revamped for the benefit of a large percentage of the population which lives in rural and suburban areas.
Currently, the Wafaqi Mohtasib’s offices are looking at issues regarding agencies and organisations of the Federal Government, significantly, Wapda, Sui Gas, Telephone, etc. Whereas, the Provincial Mohtasib’s offices look after provincial cases.
If a poor resident of Chachro or Sinjhoro receives an inflated or incorrect bill from Wapda, PTCL or Sui Gas, he has to move a complaint against these three agencies to the Wafaqi Mohtasib only in Karachi because these agencies fall under the jurisdiction of the Wafaqi Mohtasib-e-Ala and its nearest offices are in Karachi and Sukkur.
The aggrieved consumer cannot go to the local Sindh Mohtasib’s Office in Mithi or Larkana’s Sindh Mohtasib Office due to the restriction of Wafaqi Mohtasib’s jurisdiction.
Does anyone realise how bothersome and inconvenient it is for consumers to travel all the way from Chachro and Sinjhoro to Karachi or Sukkur, which are not only hundreds of kilometers away but would cost them more than Rs1,000 as bus fare and the whole day would be wasted.
It would not be so confusing if through a simple presidential order/ordinance all four provincial Mohtasibs along with their regional offices are authorised to entertain complaints/applications regarding Wapda, Sui Gas and Telephone as well as to facilitate a large amount of population of all four provinces.
This might increase the work load at the regional offices of Sindh Mohtasib, but it would undoubtedly be a great service to the people of Pakistan.
SHAFIQ AHMED KHAN Regional Director Regional Office Mirpurkhas Ombudsman Secretariat Sindh