Since inception of Islamic History, when Allah (Subhana Wata’ Ala) entrusted the Nubuwwah to the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), the concept of Ehtisab (Accountability) remained the hallmark of its followers through the Caliphs and onward. Thus, the modern Ombudsman is a variant of the Islamic era Mohtasib, originally ascribed to the second Caliph Hazrat Omar’s (RA) Institution of the Qadi-al-Qadat, then the Diwan-al-Mazalim and the Turkish Mohtasib. The Mohtasib used to be an important public authority, appointed by and answerable to the Caliph or the King, assigned to conduct accountability of public officials. He enjoyed complete independence and functioned within the documented framework. During the Abbasids era (750-847) complaint handling agencies, each headed by a senior judge called ‘Diwan-al-Mazalim’, were established to examine complaints brought by the public against government officials. The Islamic era Mohtasib is thus the institutional precursor of the modern day Ombudsman, introduced in Sweden in 1807 – a Nordic accomplishment.
Acknowledging the historic significance of the Institution of Ombudsman, the Council of Foreign Ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Member States in its 39th Session, held at Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti on 15-17th November 2012, felt the need to promote and strengthen this Institution in the Islamic World and, therefore, a Resolution
(Resolution No: 4/39-ORG) was adopted:
". . . to establish Networking of Ombudsman Offices in the OIC Member States to promote sharing of expertise and best practices in complaint handling skills, speedy handling of public grievances, capacity building of Ombudsman institutions in Islamic world; . . "
The participants of the conference on “Networking of Ombudsmen in the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) Member States” held on 28 - 29th April 2014 in Islamabad (Pakistan), emphasized that Islamic concept of accountability should be promoted as top priority in the OIC and suitable institutional arrangements be devised for sharing knowledge, experience, and ideas to strengthen the institutions of the Ombudsman in OIC Member States. To achieve above objectives, it was unanimously agreed by the participants that an association, named as “OIC Ombudsman Association (OICOA)”, be established with its Secretariat at Islamabad (Pakistan).
The Federal Tax Ombudsman was elected as President of the Steering Committee to formulate the by-laws of OICOA. In this regard, 1st meeting of Steering Committee was held from 28th to 29th April, 2015 in Islamabad. Later on, after approval of by-laws in the conference held on November 17th-19th, 2019 in Turkey, the OICOA moved from its formative stage to operational mode. Pakistan was assigned the seat of Secretary General of OICOA, permanently. In the light of by-laws, Chief Ombudsman of Turkey was elected as President, General Inspection Organization, Iran Vice President and Federal Tax Ombudsman, Pakistan Secretary General of the OICOA.
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