Not all services provided in the public offices in Pakistan satisfy everyone. In fact there are plenty which only infuriate you, correct? So if you have received poor services or feel you have been handled partially by public bodies like publicly funded third level education bodies, government departments, the HSE and local authorities, the Office of the Mohtasib will help you with your complaints.
Mohtasib is free to use (open to all), it’s independent and handles all complaints honestly and in an unbiased manner.
Who is a Mohtasib?
It is a spirited establishment accepted by a law to provide fast solace to any legal resident or citizen of Pakistan who may in one way or another have been distressed at the hands of a government agency.
What a Mohtasib Does?
Essentially, It resolves any complaints and provides quick comfort to the citizens of Pakistan.
It does this by carrying out an unconventional inspection into the provided complaints in any government agency. They do this in order to correct where things go wrong and as a result, share learned lessons and help improve the public service in general. Their services are free and open to all.
Here are some benefits of Mohtasib along with some disadvantages as well. But we are trying to educate you about how to go about resolving your water complaints, bill issues, gas problems, road construction, filthy streets and even grudges against universities and PTCL internet.
Benefits of Mohtasib
- They are friendly, accessible, flexible and informal.
- The legal statement is neither necessary nor advantageous compared to courts.
- Cost-free service.
- If not satisfied, you are free to take the case to court.
- Through the formal system, Mohtasib provides clarification where none seem to be present.
- It helps novice on how to go about with administrative processes.
- Mohtasib acts as a referral resource.
- Helps in clarifying the issue.
- Facilitates communication between the complainant and the public office
- Helps to clarify policies and procedures
- Helps in mediation where parties involved reach a mutual agreement.
- If the case is complicated, a quick solution won’t be provided
- Decisions aren’t binding
- You (complainant) have no control over the investigation.
However, before you take your complaint to Mohtasib, contact the service provider by:
- Informing them of how unhappy you are with the service you were given.
- Explain further/details what happened, what you think should have happened.
- And lastly, mention that you will take the matter to Mohtasib.
- Maintain some sort of proof of the above that you tried to get your matter resolved by yourself.
Try to mail your complaint to the service provider, but if that is an issue, take screenshots, save SMS and call records – they are all considered proof.
There is a very high chance that you won’t get a reply from the service providers but this is when you simply fill out the form of Mohtasib.
If you are using the online form, you can attach all copies of proof via the form, if its a physical snail mail, again, attache copies of your letter of complaint to service provider.
Complaining to Mohtasib
There are some sensible things to keep in mind while sending a request letter to Mohtasib seeking to resolve your complaints.
- Stick to fact and do away with opinions. Facts are critical.
- Explain what happened, when it happened and the person who provided the service.
- If you have tried to resolve the problem, tell them what you have done and how far you have gone with it.
- Explain your dissatisfaction (why you are not happy), what you expect to be done to sort out the issue.
- Support your criticism with copies of reference numbers, copies of the correspondence, photos and any material that explains what took place.
- Finally, give your address which they can use to reach you (mobile number if possible).
What should not be included in your complaint?
- Don’t include fake documents to support your views. If you don’t have any, don’t include them.
- Don’t use offensive language nor make abusive remarks towards those whom you have been dealing with the subject matter.
The online form when submitted successfully gives you a reference number on screen, sends a corresponding SMS for the same and even an email acknowledging your request for help.
Once they have contacted the “stupid provider”, you will get a copy of it in your snail mail which shows when the representative has been called for clarification to Mohtasib office. The letter also requests you to show up on the same day, date and time to have a one-on-one or face to face with the “stupid provider”.
This is your chance to get your complaint resolved so be wise, be calm and try not to throw a dustbin on the rep’s face ;)
Let’s pause here and talk about the below:
What Mohtasib Doesn’t Do?
Mohtasib will not be helpful if
- Your complaint is already before any court of law
- Its defense matters
- An external affair
- Your complaint is about a public service agency in which you are currently employed.
NOTE: If the complaint is about misinterpretation or delays in payments of retirement benefits, Mohtasib will handle the case.
Who Can File A Complaint With Mohtasib?
Any Pakistani citizen who is not satisfied by the any of the below stated actions by any of the Commission, Corporation, Department of the government or any firm established or controlled by the government.
- The service is delayed, inefficient, neglected by the administration
- The services provided are contrary to the rule of law or regulations stipulated
- Services offered are based on unrelated grounds
- Services offered are based on discrimination, unbiased, unreasonable or oppressive.
- Refusal in the provision of the services because of improper motives like corruption, nepotism etc
How To File A Complaint
In case, you don’t know, you may lodge your complaint in English or Urdu language and submit your letter at any of the regional offices. Alternatively, you can deliver your complaint by downloading their form and submitting via any of the following:
- By post
- By Fax
- By Email
- In person
- Present in the Central Registry of the secretariat
You can find all relevant information here: Contact Mohtasib
How Your Complaint Will Be Dealt
Although as the aggrieved party, you may not want to know, but Mohtasib examines your complaint thoroughly to ensure they can handle it.
Next, if your complaint is easy the Mohtasib office will contact the public service office in question seeking a report in regard to your objection.
Once the report is back, the information provided will be scrutinised and if need be, they may contact the officials of the public service. This might take time depending on how complex your complaint is. After the office of Mohtasib has gathered the information it needs, it will then decide whether:
- Your complaint is reasonable
- Whether it’s invalid due to the decision of the public body
However, if the Mohtasib Office feels you have been wronged and the public office hasn’t done enough to correct the situation, it will make recommendations to the public body on your behalf. They may ask the public body to:
- Ask for an apology
- Offer you a financial recoup
- Provide you with a deep explanation
- Reverse its decision
- Inspect what has been done
In summary, the Mohtasib does handle complaints in an informal way. In doing so, it may simply examine suitable files or discuss the problem one-on-one with the public body. However, if the case is more complex, a complete study will be carried out that this will more time.
How Long Will Your Complain Take?
Cases do vary and depending on how complex each is, it might take time to reach a decision. For instance, if Mohtasib officials are to meet with the public body representatives, your case is likely to take longer. Nevertheless, the Mohtasib does the best they can to resolve the complaint as soon as they can.
I know people who have brought K-Electric and Water Board to Mohtasib and their face to face went well and matter was resolved in the first meeting.
Can Mohtasib Review Its Decision?
The decision reached upon the examination of your file is final. However, in some cases, the decision might be waived if new evidence has emerged. Also, if Mohtasib perceives a failure on its part then the decision will be reviewed. Nevertheless, your complaint won’t be reviewed in case you are satisfied with their decision.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome and you want to appeal the decision, you have to do the following:
- Avail your appeal within one month of receiving the decision letter (yes, you actually receive letters)
- Mohtasib has misinterpreted or misunderstood the complaint
- Mohtasib did not acquire relevant information effectively from the public body in question.
- New and relevant evidence has emerged and has a bearing on the initial resolution in the case.
- Mohtasib didn’t evaluate applicable and significant issue effectively.
Even if all this sounds too much, we recommend you to go over the website and read up on them so when and if a time comes when you want to file a complaint, you already know how to go about it.
We also suggest you look at their online complaint form and look at the agencies they accept complaints against. Simply, look at all the drop-down selections and read through. You don’t know if a friend or relative may need help in some situation and your knowledge of filing complaints with Mohtasib comes useful.