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December 1, 2020

Education department was the most complained about authority in 2019

Karachi

December 1, 2020

The Sindh Education Department tops the list of the authorities against whom the complaints submitted throughout 2019 were admitted by the provincial ombudsman, reveals the official’s annual report for last year. The education department is followed by the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) and the Sindh police.

“Statistical analysis of the data pertaining to the complaints received, processed, investigated and disposed of shows that a total of 2,765 complaints were admitted and 2,235 complaints disposed of during 2019, out of which relief was provided to 1,563, which comes to 72 per cent,” reads the report.

The highest number of complaints, which is 415, was admitted against the education department, followed by 353 against the KWSB and 318 against the Sindh police.

As for other authorities, 239 complaints were admitted against the local government department, 238 against the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), 157 against the Sindh Building Control Authority, 120 against the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) and 104 against the Accountant General Sindh.

The ombudsman provided relief to 98 per cent of the pensioners or widows in the case of the AG. Twenty-eight per cent of the overall complaints were also rejected between January and December last year.

The ombudsman also received 73 complaints from children during 2019. Sixty-three of them were admitted against the education department, three against the police, two against the KDA, and one each against the KWSB, the KMC, the health department, the revenue department and the works & services department.

Since 2009, the highest number of children’s complaints admitted by the provincial ombudsman, which is 556, has been against the education department. However, considering the overall admitted complaints, the education department is preceded only by the Sindh police.

These complaints were mostly about private matters, service matters, maladministration, time-barred matters and others. The annual report, however, did not mention how many complaints the ombudsman had received about harassment, child abuse and other sensitive issues during 2019.

“Although it is heartening to report that this institution has been able to redress grievances of a lot of people, there have been some challenges too,” said Ombudsman Ajaz Ali Khan in a note to Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

“My focus in the coming year (2020) will be on overcoming these challenges as well as making the grievances redressal system smoother and less time-consuming.”

Khan admitted that the biggest challenge faced by his institution is the implementation of its decisions. He said that after a prolonged process of investigation, decisions are awarded to redress the grievances of people.

“Unfortunately, in many cases, the departments and agencies of the provincial government fail to implement these decisions in a timely manner, which not only creates frustration for the complainants but also diminishes the image of this institution.”

He pointed out another challenged faced by the provincial ombudsman, which is the slow response from the agencies and departments during the course of investigation, which results in undue delay and prolonged investigations.