THE office of Ombudsman exists in more than 100 countries for ensuring good governance and accountability of public servants. In Pakistan, the first ombudsman, also known as wafaqi mohtasib, was appointed in 1983.
The primary objective of the wafaqi mohtasib is to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectify injustices faced by the public from the federal government departments.
Provincial ombudsmen have also been appointed in the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu and Kashmir for similar purpose. The tenure of the wafaqi mohtasib is four years.
This position has been vacant since Oct 27, 2010, when Mr Javed Sadiq Malik completed his tenure. It means there is no public representative or agent of the governed population for redress of their grievances for the last two years. It also means that there is no person in the country qualified to be appointed wafaqi mohtasib.
Though there is no wafaqi mohtasib, a wafaqi mohtasib secretariat with an army of advisers, consultants and support staff is functional on the Constitution Avenue in Islamabad, at the cost of public money. It is also a pity that the Public Accounts Committee has not taken serious note of wastage of public money.
ASGHAR MAHMOOD Islamabad