PESHAWAR -- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has launched its new "Good Governance Strategy" aimed at improving the performance of various public services.
The government is seeking to bolster the delivery of services and more quickly respond to citizens, including those in districts affected by militancy, according to officials.
The strategy, prepared by KP's Performance Management and Reforms Unit (PMRU) and launched on March 29, focuses on five basic pillars: transparency and open government, public service delivery, accountability, citizen participation, and innovation and technology.
As part of the strategy, the government has identified 41 performance indicators.
It also requires government departments to make public information on their officers and employees, including their powers, functions, perks and privileges.
Such departments will proactively disclose details online of those who receive concessions, permits and licenses.
The strategy seeks to ensure the publication and disclosure of rules and regulations, information and services, auctions, tenders, vehicle ownership by government agencies, government assets, job vacancies, and merit lists of admission to government colleges and technical institutes, among other information.
Answering to the public
"Officials who perform well will be rewarded, while non-performers will face action," KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan told media on March 29.
"This programme will prove very valuable and will help all citizens of the province, particularly residents of tribal districts," KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai told Pakistan Forward on April 10.
"The tribal masses will be able to avail themselves of all benefits," Yousafzai said. "Before the merger, the tribe members could hardly get anything, even domicile and birth certificates."
The strategy will enable the KP government to ensure citizen access across the province, including tribal areas, to all public information, Shahid Mehmood, a PMRU co-ordinator, told Pakistan Forward.
"The government needs to improve its performance," he said. "Now, all departments of the government will upload their all data and information on their websites."
"We are introducing more advanced technology to facilitate the citizens," said Shahid. "We identified 200 reasons for the public to visit government offices."
"The government has already started implementing [technology for] 100 of those reasons," he added, referring to methods of saving citizens from having to waste time in offices. "Applicants can get applications and submit them online."
"The residents of tribal districts and other militant-hit districts will benefit more from this strategy," Shahid said.
"We are evaluating the services that have been launched online," PMRU Deputy Co-ordinator Adil Raza said. "We will work to identify the areas where improvements can be possible."
"We are simplifying e-governance to decrease personal visits by the public to offices," said Raza. "In developed countries, all work is done through the latest technology, i.e., mobile phones and the internet."
"Digitally, any type of software application can be used where payment is not involved, while we will introduce software applications to solve the problem of digital payment," he said.
A fruitful endeavour
Aftab Ahmad, 34, who worked at a private organisation in Peshawar, said he appreciates the governance strategy.
"This enterprise will be very fruitful, particularly for youth and those who are looking for jobs in the public sector," he told Pakistan Forward.
"I didn't want to continue my job because employees were not getting salaries on time, so I decided to quit," Ahmad said. "Now, instead of visiting offices and standing in queues, I can learn about job vacancies and can apply online."
Akbar Dawar, a native of North Waziristan who now works in Peshawar, praised the strategy for allowing anyone to obtain information on rules, regulations and procedures easily online.
"Before the merger of FATA [the Federally Administered Tribal Areas] with KP, it required considerable pain and time even to get domicile and birth certificates," Dawar told Pakistan Forward. "Access to information online has made everything easy."
"The laws of the colonial era kept tribe members away from government offices," he said. "There were no courts," and "they used to pay for any documentation."
"Now the system is changed, and no government official in the tribal belt can refuse to co-operate," Dawar said.