Who will watch the watchmen?... By Asghar
01 November, 2012
The office of ombudsman exists in more than 100 countries to ensure good governance and the accountability of public servants. In Pakistan, the first ombudsman was appointed in 1983. His primary objective has always been to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectify injustices faced by the public because of federal government departments. Provincial ombudsmen have also been appointed in the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir for similar purposes. The tenure of the ombudsman is four years. This position has been vacant in Pakistan since October 27, 2010, when Mr Javed Sadiq Malik completed his tenure. This means there has been no public representative or agent of the governed population to redress its grievances for the last two years. This also means that there is no person in the country who is qualified enough to be appointed the ombudsman. What a tragedy.
Although there is no ombudsman in place, a secretariat exists for the ombudsman, with an army of advisors, consultants and support staff, which is functional on 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 this wastage of public money.