ISLAMABAD-Federal Ombudsman has called for ensuring facilities to overseas Pakistanis at Islamabad airport. 

Federal Ombudsman Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi while taking cognizance of numerous complaints of citizens against management of Islamabad International Airport had constituted a team of senior officers comprising Ahmad Farooq, Senior Advisor, Dr. Inamul Haq Javeid, Grievance Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis, M. Javed Chaudhary, Director Media and others to investigate the issues at Islamabad airport and submit report to check the performance of one-window facilitation desk, delay in immigration, unnecessary checking by customs and to review the progress on the recommendations of his earlier team’s visit on 27 April, 2022. 

The committee has submitted its preliminary report after making inspection, listening to the complaints of the general public, witnessing the working of different counters, one-window facilitation desk and holding meetings with the management of the airport and other federal government agencies responsible for handling the passengers. The team also inspected the One-Window Facilitation Desk where representatives of 12 agencies remain present round the clock. The Ombudsman said that Islamabad airport is the airport of the federal capital, therefore, its services must be of international standard.

The Airport Manager informed that under the directions of Wafaqi Mohtasib, separate counters for senior citizens, business class passengers and ladies have been established, however, senior citizens complained to the team regarding improper functioning of the counters. The FIA and Customs authorities complained of a shortage of staff. The team observed that only two luggage wrapping machines were working due to which long queues were witnessed over the counter. 

The team directed the CAA authorities for installation of two more rapping machines. The passengers requested for the provision of a visa protector stamp at the airport. The team assured to take up the matter with the concerned ministries. The team directed the airport doctor for checking of hygiene standards along with expiry date of food items provided at the airport and asked for submission of a fortnightly report to WMS.  

The team appreciated the performance of CAA in maintaining cleanliness and ASF for good security arrangements at the airport. The team observed and noted that awareness boards are only in English, therefore, directed to install awareness/ guidance boards in Urdu language as well. The Ombudsman has called upon the Secretary Civil Aviation Division and heads of FIA, Customs, PIA and other relevant agencies to inquire into the complaints and take immediate necessary measures for resolution of the issues.