Committed to free justice for all: Ombudsman

Provincial Ombudsman Major (R) Azam Sulaiman said on Tuesday that 95 percent of the complaints received so far had been resolved. The Provincial Ombudsman said he is committed to ensuring free-of-cost justice for the all segments of society, he added. He was talking to business community here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) where LCCI President Kashif Anwar and Executive Committee members were also present. Major (R) Azam Sulaiman claimed that Provincial Ombudsman had remarkable achievement including helpline 1050. The institution digitalized and made functional on 24/7 basis. Provincial Ombudsman was synchronized with Regional Offices of Ombudsman working in all the districts of Punjab, he added. He said that the Provincial Ombudsman was monitoring and evaluating performance of investigation officer, and it had also constructed buildings of regional offices in five districts including D.G. Khan, Muzaffargarh, Mianwali, Jhang and Attock which were completed in 2022 and now operational. He added that the Provincial Ombudsman was resolving the complaints regarding police, revenue administration, local government, housing department, health and education sectors in a winsome manner. He said, “If someone wants to review the decisions of the Provincial Ombudsman, which happens in very few cases, he can appeal to the Governor of Punjab. If there is an objection to the Governor’s decision, they can go to the High Court, but the number of such cases is very few. Most people accept the decisions of the Provincial Ombudsman.” He said that the provincial ombudsman not only redressed the grievances of the people but also resolved the issues of widows, affectees of illegal housing societies etc. Apart from this, the maintenance work of all the cemeteries in Punjab had also been done by the provincial ombudsman, he added. He said that the provincial ombudsman looked after the lack of facilities in health sector like unavailability of CT scan and X-Ray machines etc. Provincial Ombudsman called the Health Secretary and ensured the provision of facilities in health sector. The Provincial Ombudsman said, “If there is shortage of paramedical staff, doctors and nurses, we also play a role as well to get rid of this issue.” He also gave suggestions to improve the recruitment process. He said that the provincial ombudsman also played its role in addressing the lack of facilities in education sector. He said that the provincial ombudsman was an autonomous body which solved people’s problems without any charges. He said that the focal person for the Lahore Chamber would be appointed from today. He said that many people did not know about the working of provincial ombudsman. They didn’t know that this was an institution that provided free justice. Even if applications were received against government officials, the provincial ombudsman not only conducted inquiry but also awarded punishment, he added. LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that having ombudsman offices was no less than a boon which helped the common people to get quick redressal or to resolve any problem as soon as possible in case of complaint from any government agency. He said that the provincial ombudsman office was receiving many cases of harassment. Lahore Chamber had always been raising its voice in this regard because if such complaints of women, who were employed or doing business, were not redressed in time, their career would be affected, he added. The LCCI President said that clear instructions should be issued by the provincial ombudsman to ensure the installation of CCTV cameras in all such places, offices, shops or factories where women worked. In case of any untoward incident, the court or jury would have solid evidence to decide on its merits. It would also make it easier to punish and expose such unscrupulous people, he added. He informed the Provincial Ombudsman that several help desks of federal and provincial departments were working under One Window Smart Services in the premises of Lahore Chamber including SMEDA, Excise and Taxation, LESCO, WASA, LDA, FBR, Labor Department, PESSI, PIA, Punjab Bank, Driving License and other institutions. The LCCI President said, “Our members are availing the full benefit of NADRA, Passport Facilitation Center and Police Service Center and NADRA E-Sahulat etc. in Lahore Chamber.” He said that Lahore Chamber was the only organization in Pakistan which provided its members with so many facilities under one roof. He said that an MOU should be signed between Lahore Chamber and Provincial Ombudsman for the establishment of a help desk.