CPDI Organizes Seminar On Right To Information Laws

CPDI organizes seminar on right to information laws

Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), in collaboration with Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) organized a one-day seminar on "Right to Information, Challenges and the Way Forward".

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 22nd Jun, 2022 ) :Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), in collaboration with Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) organized a one-day seminar on "Right to Information, Challenges and the Way Forward".

Objective of the seminar was to share findings of Right to Information (RTI) assessment report and generate informed debate among stakeholders about the challenges and hurdles posed in the implementation of RTI laws in Pakistan.

The panelists of the seminar included Executive Director, CPDI, Mukhtar Ahmed Ali, Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) Muhammad Azam, Information Commissioner (IC), PIC, Fawad Malik, Mahboob Qadir Shah, CIC, Punjab IC, Mahboob Qadir Shah and , Nusrat Hussain, CIC, IC, Sindh Nusrat Hussain Secretary Information Department Balochistan Imran Khan.

The event was attended among others by public information officers of the Federal ministries, journalists, and lawyers' fraternity.

Consultant, CPDI Aftab Alam shared the findings of study titled "Assessment of Right to Information Implementation (Bureaucratic Hurdles)".

The study aimed to assess the quality of implementation of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017, including major impediments such as administrative loopholes inherited in the system, lack of required resources and ability to digitize the internal reporting and evaluation systems that make public information officers answerable to the head of departments and other bureaucratic hurdles.

The study highlighted that Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) was facing serious challenges to implement the act. These challenges include administrative, procedural and legal challenges since its establishment in November 2018.

ED CPDI Mukhtar Ahmad Ali said the importance of information and the essence of RTI revolved around online/offline proactive disclosure of information by the government departments.

He appreciated the fact that RTI laws have been enacted in provinces and federal level whereas implementation remained a question especially in Sindh and Balochistan.

He welcomed the newly appointed information Commissioners in Sindh Information Commission (SIC). He encouraged citizens to use their fundamental right to know to promote transparency, accountability and inclusiveness of citizens.

Mehboob Qadir Shah, Chief of Punjab Information Commission remarked that transparency and meritocracy are the fundamental attributes of developed nations. While highlighting the flaws in system, he said that lack of political commitment is main hurdle in implementation of RTI in Punjab.

Chief Information Commissioner SIC Nusrat Hussain appreciated his predecessors and said that despite of lack of administrative support and resources, 150 complaints were resolved out of the total 165 complaints by Sindh Information Commissioner.

He remarked that, provincial government of Sindh was committed to support SIC for effective implementation of RTI. He added, in the last week, they had received 30 information requests from citizens.

Muhammad Azam, Chief of Pakistan Information Commission remarked that citizens were the custodian of information held by government departments.

He encouraged citizens and PIOs to understand their roles and responsibilities under RTI law.

He suggested that a joint massive awareness campaign should be run by commissions, media and civil society to ensure maximum disclosure of information.

Secretary Information, Government of Balochistan Imran Khan said Rules under Balochistan RTI Act, 2021 were laid before the Chief Minister Balochistan and will be finalized soon.

Establishment of Balochistan Information Commission was delayed since the enactment of Balochistan RTI Act in February 2021, he added.

He claimed that culture of secrecy, lack of political will, lack of awareness in citizens and bureaucratic hurdles are the challenges in the path of RTI implementation in Balochistan.

During the question answer session, the participants were enlightened in detail regarding implementation of RTI laws in Pakistan.