ISLAMABAD - In order to address the complaints of poor government employees affected as result of devolution of dozens of key federal ministries and other departments to the provinces, President Asif Ali Zardari is looking for a person with sound legal background to fill the vacant slot of Federal Ombudsman.

Sources told TheNation that President Zardari, while taking notice of the public interest complaints pending in the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat, has decided to make the crucial appointment without further delay and sought the names of probable candidates, preferably woman to fill the post lying vacant since 27 October 2010.

However, the information could not be confirmed till filing of this report as the presidential spokesperson and newly-elected PPP senator Farhatullah Babar was not immediately available to comment on these developments.

According to the informed sources, a large of number of complaints are pending without action with the secretariat because of the absence of the ombudsman. Most of these grievances are related to transfers, postings, promotions and pensions of the government and semi-government institutions employees as a result of the devolution process carried by the PPP-led ruling alliance in line with 18th Amendment.

Sources said the backlog had multiplied after the last Federal Ombudsman, Javaid Sadiq Malik, a retired senior civil servant, relinquished his office after completion of a four-year term.

“The president is responsible for present situation as he has so far failed to discharge his constitutional duty,” some of the female complainants from health and education ministries told TheNation. Interestingly, some of the female teachers from the well-reputed model schools being run by the Federal Directorate of Education and newly created Division the CADD are seeking up-gradation and promotion as result of the anomalous devolution process.

Similarly, sources said there were a large number of complaints from the health sector employees in addition to the complaints from other departments.

Interestingly, the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat continues functioning without the competent authority leading to piling up of complaints.

Previously, Zardari, according to the informed sources, sought to appoint the former chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar but it did not happen so far for the reason known to him.