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Mechanism to redress public grievances on the cards

Mechanism to redress public grievances on the cards

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home department will soon increase the people’s access to the Provincial Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission by putting in place the grievances redressal mechanism (GRM).

“The introduction of the GRM has been approved to facilitate the people. We will take public complaints online as well,” additional secretary (judicial) of the home department Arif Khattak told the Government-Citizen Forum (GCF) during a meeting here on Thursday.

Home secretary Arbab Arif chaired the meeting.

The GCF is an initiative of the home department implemented in collaboration with Aitebar programme.

The advisory group comprising representation from different communities and professions discusses issues relating to peace and justice in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to come up with steps to resolve them.

Khattak said the home department was striving to improve the people’s chances to express their grievances and the activation of the Provincial Public Safety and Police Complaints Commission was part of it.

He said during the last five months, complaint disposal rate had increased considerably showing the people’s trust in the government.

“More and more people are coming forward to file complaints with the commission,” he said.

The home secretary, who attended the meeting for the first time, heard participants and said the department would take all possible steps to resolve issues raised by them.

Charan Jeet Singh, a member of Sikh community, highlighted the issues faced by Sikh businessmen in the province, especially poor security.

The home secretary said he would contact the relevant authorities and ensure provision of proper security to religious minorities.

Robina, a representative of Christian community living in the province, complained that the policemen were insensitive towards members of his community and ridiculed them whenever they visited them for registration of complaints.

She said the police should be sensitised to the rights of non-Muslims. Civil society activists Rakhshinda Naz and Saira Bano said getting NOC for functioning was a major problem faced by many NGOs.

The home secretary said if NGOs working in the province gave the relevant information to the authorities, there should be no delay in the issuance of NOCs to them.

He said he would speak to the relevant officials for resolution of the NGOs’ problems.

Dr Jamil Chitrali, director of the peace and conflict studies department at the University of Peshawar, complained about snap checking and harassment of people at police checkpoints.

He also said university teachers received threatening emails to their agony. The home secretary promised to take necessary action on the matter. The participants agreed that they would discuss campus security issues, the minorities’ problems and law-enforcement agencies’ awareness of laws in the next meeting.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2015

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