Punjab ombudsman fails to provide justice to employees


LAHORE: Office of Punjab Ombudsman, established to extend justice and relief to the public, has failed to provide justice and relief to the employees working under his command resulting in a number of employees of the ombudsman approaching Lahore High Court (LHC) for justice.

Justice Muhammad Sajid Mahmood Sethi of LHC in his judgement, accepting the request of employees, has directed the ombudsman not to disturb the employees till further orders.

According to details, Najam Saeed, a retired bureaucrat, after assuming the charge of Punjab ombudsman, illegally transferred as many as 25 officials from grade 01 to grade 18 to remote districts. Majority of transferred staff was recruited on a contract and on a need-based policy. The staff included a computer programmer (BS-18), a protocol officer (BS-17), a public relations officer (BS-17), three assistants (BS-16), a personal assistant (BS-16), a library assistant (BS-11), four stenographers (BS-14), four junior clerk (BS-11), a dispatch rider (BS-05), five naib qasids (BS-02) and three security guards (BS-01).

Since the employees were recruited on contracts and on a need basis, transfer of such employees from Lahore to remote districts like Rajanpur, DG Khan, Bhakkar, Chakwal and Layyah districts without any justification bears no cover of rules. All the employees were transferred in district offices of ombudsman knowing that all such district offices were still working without proper sanction and approval of the government, and the establishment of the same is also already questioned by the provincial government.

Moreover, the transfers were made against the posts which did not exist, which was also an illegal act on the part of the ombudsman, which is why all the transferred employees while working in remote districts are drawing their salaries from Lahore since July 2017.  No one except Punjab Ombudsman Najam Saeed can know and imagine the utility of a computer operator in Rajanpur, a public relations officer to the Punjab Ombudsman in Vehari, a protocol officer to the in Bhakkar and the other transferred staff.

The employees protested against illegal transfers and acts of nepotism on the part of Punjab Ombudsman as Samiullah, reportedly the nephew of Punjab ombudsman, was recruited as advisor (BS-19) and he is given the charge of finance and HR in the office. Owing to the unjust acts of the ombudsman, some of the contractual employees approached LHC for redressal of their grievances and requested to regularise their jobs.

Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi, in his order on November 29, 2017, accepted the request of the employees and directed the ombudsman to not disturb Computer Programmer Najamus Saqib, Protocol Officer Ehsan Ghani, Assistant Tanseer Abid and Junior Clerk Adil Hussain.

Despite following the orders of Lahore High Court, the ombudsman has refused to renew the contracts of aforementioned employees which expired on November 30, 2017.