20th meeting of FPO


The 20th Meeting of Forum of Pakistan Ombudsman Held on 28th December, 2018, Islamabad

The 20th Meeting of Forum of Pakistan Ombudsman (FPO) was held on 28th December, 2018 at Islamabad Club, Islamabad which was chaired by the President of the Forum, Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera, Federal Tax Ombudsman and coordinated by Mr. Abdul Khaliq, Secretary FPO. Ten (10) Member of  forum attend the meeting.

2. The Meeting was commenced with the recitation from the Holy Qur’an. President of the Forum welcomed the participants and apprised them on the purpose of the Meeting. He broadly introduced the Agenda and asked the Secretary of the Forum to proceed with the Agenda in detail. Consideration of Article 7 (Voting Members) of the Statutes of OICOA

3. The Secretary of the Forum apprised the Hon’ble Members on the background of the Agenda Item that in the 2nd Steering Committee Meeting and General Assembly Meeting of OICOA, held on 24-26 September, 2017 in Istanbul-Turkey, the Statues / Bye Laws of the Association were approved; however, on Article 7a (Voting Members) of the Statutes, consensus could not be reached in the General Assembly Meeting . Therefore, the  decision on Article 7a was deferred at that time so that the Members could find more time for consultation on alternative proposals. Thus, Article 7a of the Statutes was placed on the Agenda again for the consideration of the Steering Committee in Sudan.
4. The Steering Committee was apprised at its Meeting in Sudan that the Forum of Pakistan Ombudsmen (FPO) had held a meeting to find some solution to this unresolved issue: whether Voting Rights should be allocated to 12 Institutions of Pakistan who had been the Founding Members of the Association or some other criteria could be adopted. Since all the
Ombudsman Institutions in Pakistan have separate laws / acts and independent jurisdictions with financial and administrative autonomy and all of them happened to be the Founding Members, the Forum could not find justification or a cogent reason to deprive any of them of the Voting Rights. If, for any reason, an Institution is deprived of the Voting Right, what  interest it will have in the affairs of the Association. In view of these constraints, FPO could
devise alternate proposals and submitted for consideration of the Steering Committee.
5. The two alternate proposals considered by the Steering Committee were apprised to the Forum; these are briefly recorded below. Alternate Proposals for Granting the Voting Rights 

Proposal – A:
The Steering committee was apprised: International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) maintains and follows ‘One Member Institution One Voting Right Policy’ which means ‘Right of Vote’ is accorded to the institutions, not to a country. For example, thirteen Ombudsman Institutions from Canada, eleven from Pakistan and Spain, ten from Argentina, nine from Australia, four from South Korea and two from Bahrain are members of the IOI and each one of these
institutions has the equal right of vote. On aggregate, there are 198 Institutions from 113 countries having voting rights in IOI. This principle is universally accepted and adopted in the International Ombudsman Community under the IOI umbrella. In the Asian Ombudsman Association (AOA), each Country has One Voting Right; however, all the ‘Founding Members (Institutions)’ have been accorded voting rights under this policy. Pakistan has three voting rights as three Ombudsman Institutions happened to be the Founding Members of AOA. Both, the Institutional frameworks, IOI’s Institution-based policy as well as the AOA’s Founding Members criteria, make all the Ombudsman Institutions from a country eligible for the voting rights if they have been the Founding Members of the OIC Ombudsman Association.
Proposal – B:
In order to resolve the probable reservation and impression that with the higher strength of Voting Members, one country would have overwhelming influence in the Association or would seize larger share in the Board of Directors or each time would contest for the Chairmanship / Presidency in the election process, IOI’s experience/policy may help: one of the Pakistan’s 12 Institutions (designated by the Forum of Pakistan Ombudsman) may be accorded position of the “Secretary General” on permanent basis on the analogy of IOI. Since, presently Pakistan hosts the Secretariat of the Association, permanent Secretary General from here will not only provide operational efficiency and continuity to the
Association affairs but it will also help improve the Secretariat support. If this arrangement is agreed, Pakistan will not contest for some other post on the Board; however, each of the Founding Members will carry the voting right.
6. The Hon’ble Steering Committee Members examined the “Alternate Proposals” in details and considered all possible aspects, especially with reference to its impact on the fair and efficient working of the Association. However, it was felt that the “Alternate Proposals” are of great significance for the future of the Association and, thus, need to be considered by all the Members of the Association. It was further felt that if decision on this article (7-a) was left to the next General Assembly scheduled to be held in 2019, it would not be possible to hold election in the same General Assembly Meeting due to pending decision on the Voting Members. After the decision on Voting Members, almost 3-4 months would be required for the preparation of Election in the next General Assembly in 2019. To resolve this issue the Steering Committee decided to forward the “Alternate Proposals” to all the Members of the Association and seek their vote by circulation on line within a period of two months so that election of the Board of Directors could be held in the next General Assembly in 2019 which would require 3-4 months for preparation under the Bye laws of the Association.
7. Members of the Forum were apprised on the decision taken by the Steering Committee in Sudan which is reproduced as under. The Steering Committee examined the “Alternate Proposals” in details and, considering all aspects with reference to their impact on the fair and efficient working of the Association, decided to forward “Alternate Proposals” to all the Members of the Association seeking their vote, online by circulation, on either of the two proposals within a period of two months so that election of the Board of Directors could be held in the next General Assembly in 2019 which would require 3-4 months for preparation under the Bye laws of the Association. This arrangement was necessitated for the reason that if decision on Article (7-a) would not be taken before 3-4 months of the next General Assembly (2019), it would not be possible to hold election in the same General Assembly Meeting for want of
agreed Voting Members list and required time for election procedures under the Bye Laws.

 8. The Forum examined pros and cons of the Alternate Proposals and finally consensus was reached that Proposal at B provides the win-win situation for all the Members of the OICOA; it will conveniently address their concerns and would likely get their acceptance. Therefore, all the Members of the Forum will support Proposal B when asked by the OICOA Secretariat.  As for the criteria to allocate this position to a Member of the Forum, will be discussed in its
next meeting. 

                      A. Payment of Annual Membership Fee of AOA in Pak Rupees 

                      B. Financing of AOA General Assembly Meeting on Election Event

9. Regarding Point A, previously, all the Members of AOA had to deposit their Annual Membership Fee in US Dollar @  $1000. For Ombudsman Institutions in Pakistan payment in Dollar was not permissible under the State Bank’s Regulations. Therefore, to overcome this difficulty, the Hon’ble President AOA has allowed payment of the said fee in Pak Rupees; this decision has already been communicated to Ombudsman Institutions vide letter No. 1(7)/AOA/2018 dated 10th December, 2018. The Members appreciated the decision and thanked the President AOA. 

10. Regarding Point B, the Members were apprised that the AOA has some funds in foreign currency account, accumulated over the years, at its disposal and the AOA Secretariat is considering to propose to the General Assembly Members to utilize these funds for financing, partially, the expenditure incurred by the Members while participating in the AOA General Assembly Meetings; however, in view of limitation of funds, this facility may be restricted to the General Assembly Meeting on Election Event only. This facilitation will not only enlarge the participation but also the financial burden on the host will be reduced. The Members FPO appreciated the idea; however, they left it to the President AOA to decide on the details of the proposal. 

11. Under the Agenda Item: ‘Any Other Point by the Chair or any Member’, Hon’ble Ms. Kashmala Tariq, Federal Ombudsperson for Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace, made a suggestion for setting up Help Desks for her Institution (Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace) in all the Offices of other Ombudsman Institutions to maximize awareness of the Institution among all segments of society. All the Members appreciated the proposal and offered her all possible support for the noble cause.

A group Photo of the Participants of the 21st Meeting of Forum of Pakistan Ombudsman(FPO) on 28th December, 2018 at Islamabad Club, Islamabad