BY Muhammad Javed
EARLIER at Rs.100 NOW AT Rs.150000
Recently retired Chief Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja while going on retirement said that the state institutions should admit they had “not yet succeeded in providing speedy and inexpensive justice to the masses”. Our national problem is that having served for long time “as most obedient servant” of the dictators, only after retirement all our Roead Khans start giving TV lectures every evening on beauty of democracy. After running the election commission for long time, fully in accordance with the desires of rulers of the time, on retirement our Kunwar Dilshads every evening start advising how the commission should serve truly in accordance with the law. Who accepted incomplete and illegible photo stats of Degrees from election candidates? A Kanwar Dilshad. What practical efforts did Jawwad Khawaja put during his tenure, to ensure “speedy” justice? Did he remove, for one example, 10-20 years deep-sleeping stay orders from the bank default loan cases for “speedy” delivery of justice?
- I disagree with Justice Khawaja that institutions “failed” to deliver inexpensive justice. The correct and true fact is that the institutions turned the already cheap-free, if not inexpensive justice, into unbearable expensive justice as high as similar to the fees of lawyers after unfortunate restoration of judiciary.
- In 80s and 90s against more than 100 complaints submitted against PIA, Embassies, Banks, National Savings, shares applications, Passports, PTCL, etc I never ever was asked by the then Federal Ombudsmen or Sindh Ombudsman to come to Pakistan for a Hearing. In almost 95% cases I got relief merely on the expense of just ordinary postage of Rs.12 to Rs.15 (up to Rs.100 maximum on counter-statement counter-rejoinder etc.)
- Since Pakistan entered into the list of enlightened nations and over-dozed injection of “good governance, the meaning of “inexpensive” has changed. The Federal Ombudsman about 4 years back with much coverage in the press established a separate Overseas Pakistanis Complaint Cell. Ex Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia was appointed as head of the cell as being a former ambassador, he was well aware of the Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) problems. In addition another Grievance Commissioner for OPs has been established in the Federal Ombudsman office.
- Now the “inexpensive justice” is provided by invariably calling the OP complainant to Pakistan for a Hearing whether there was any remotest logical need of it or not. Just for only one specimen example from amongst dozens, I addressed many times the Director, National Savings Karachi about my account but she did not give any response. Quoting the relevant Law which made it mandatory for every government functionary to “invariably and immediately” acknowledge receipt of “every” public communication, I made a complaint to the Federal Ombudsman. In this case it was only the Director NS who needed to explain why not she responded to this citizen. But I was summoned to attend the Hearing in Karachi. It costs minimum Rs 150000 from the Middle East and Rs.300000 from Europe to attend a Hearing in Pakistan. This summon to me also proved beyond any doubt that the ex-Ambassador was posted just to provide him a high salaried job otherwise in his presence the Cell would have known in what conditions the OPs in Middle East worked and what lengthy cumbersome procedure it involved to get out of turn leave, arrange such a big money for air fare, immigration Exist/Re-Entry etc. For those enjoying after retirement bonus contract employments, as Rauf Klasra alleges Eid bonus, this Rs.150000 might be just peanuts but for a senior citizen like me it definitely is unthinkable.
- This is another matter that these Hearing Notices are served in a unique manner viz approximately 15-20 days for a notice to start journey from Pakistan, reach abroad, complainant to afford making arrangement etc – And above all these Notices being dispatched after keeping several days on table.
- Four years back I myself personally purchased a SIM directly from Ufone Gulshan-e-Iqbal Karachi and not from any Pan Shop by submitting my CNIC original plus copy, thumb impression, signature etc. Last year when Ufone informed me that it was not registered in my name, in order to get “inexpensive” justice I approached Federal Ombudsman. I was advised to come to Islamabad for a hearing. I am educated from old days free municipality school sitting on floor. Hence my “that” education advised me to use ALLAH’s given sense and give justice to myself rather than seeking justice from Federal Ombudsman. I ignored the Notice of Hearing and preferred to forget. On next affordable opportunity I purchased one new SIM for Rs.100 thus saving Rs.149900 which otherwise meant spending on not “sure justice” but on merely the hope for justice.