The Website of the Forum of th Pakistan Ombudsman is launched with high hopes and a conviction that since 1983, when it was first established, the Ombudsman office has not only done much to redress grievances of the citizenry in Pakistan against the maladministration of public functionaries but is capable of doing a great deal more. There are today 12 Ombudsman offices in Pakistan and of these 6 are single mandate Ombudsman. The Ombudsman office as it was originally conceived in Sweden in 1807 envisaged one Ombudsman to look into citizen grievances against all public functionaries. Since then, however, State has undergone a sea change. Rapid technological development has led to Industrial growth on an unprecedented scale increasing the size and complexion of the workforce both in the public and private sectors and has created new work place harassment grievances for the Ombudsman to redress. Democratization of the State and its institutions has spawned human rights issues that again are being looked into by the Ombudsman. The financial sector has also grown considerably both in size, complexity and diversity and Banks, Insurance Companies and Investment houses have not only dramatically altered the financial landscape but play an increasingly important role in the functioning of the modern State. These and other changes have made it extremely difficult for a single Ombudsman to deal with all the issues that the office faces. The much more specialized single mandate Ombudsman has thus evolved out of the traditional Ombudsman's office and is much better able to deal with the unique problems related to his particular office.
No matter what the mandate of the office, the Ombudsman will always retain certain common features. It will thus always be a general oversight office that is by no means a substitute for regular Courts and appellate fora. Having said that, it is also true that the effectiveness of the Ombudsman office is enhanced considerably when the different Ombudsmen team up and work from a common platform and are thus able to realize their full symbiotic potential. It is with this idea in mind that the Forum of Pakistan Ombudsman has been created.
This website offers an electronic window to the outside world to see what goes on in the Ombudsman's office. Technology has today made it possible for people to communicate with each other globally, in real time using text, images, audio and video. This multi-dimensional communications capability is being exploited by all and sundry today and has revolutionized life in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Forum intends to develop this website into a dynamic medium for interaction between Ombudsmen and with the public at large, nationally and internationally.
I wish the Forum of Pakistan Ombudsman all success!