LAHORE     -   The office of the Women Ombud­sperson in Punjab has been ren­dered ineffective as the deputy com­missioners across the province are not taking administrative actions to enable women to get their inherited properties from their close relatives. 

Although most of the deputy com­missioners in Punjab are not taking the directions issued from the Om­budsperson’s office seriously, the DCs of Lahore, Multan, Sargodha and Faisalabad have surpassed all oth­ers, according to the Punjab Women Ombudsperson Nabila Hakim Ali. 

In this connection, Nabila Hakim has written a letter to the Chief Sec­retary (copy available with The Na­tion) complaining about the non-se­rious attitude of the Lahore deputy commissioner who is defying direc­tions of her office on several cases pertaining to women who have not been given possession of their prop­erties inherited to them. Accord­ing to the letter, the DC Lahore has committed contempt of court for not taking action under the Women Property Rights Act. Under this Act, the DC did not implement the deci­sions given by the court of Women’s Ombudsperson regarding women’s property. The letter has listed eight cases of this type in which the DC has not taken any action while there are more than 100 cases on which the DC Lahore has not initiated in­quiry regarding women proper­ties through the revenue officers to know whether the property is free of any judicial litigation or not. It is pertinent to mention here that the of­fice of ombudsperson does hold the power to issue the contempt orders. When contacted to seek his version, Lahore Deputy Commissioner M Ali did not respond to the calls and mes­sages sent to his cell number by this scribe. The letter further reads that the performance of the DC is spoil­ing the reputation of the ombudsper­son office. “Several reminder notices were also sent to the DC Lahore but no response was received from his of­fice. On October 7, the DC was asked to appear in person in the court of women’s ombudsperson Punjab but he did not appear,” reads the letter. The ombudsperson in her letter re­quested the Punjab chief secretary to take notice of the inaction by the DC. A copy of the letter has also been sent to Punjab chief minister, law minister and all the DCs of Punjab. If the DC does not take this seriously, warrants will be issued against him, she has warned in her letter. Speaking to The Nation, Nabila Hakim said that her office made decisions regarding the women inherited properties. “We ask the administration to give possession of properties to women who have right to inheritance after the neces­sary verification that such proper­ties were free of any court litigation.” Giving background of the letter writ­ten to the chief secretary against the Lahore DC, she said: “There are 7 to 8 cases of this nature with no litiga­tion involved. Apart from this, there are more than 100 cases pending in which women have requested us to help vacate their properties.”