A Senate panel on Tuesday grilled information minister Pervez Rashid for his failure to bring the Right to Information Bill (RIB) despite repeated promises.
The members of bipartisan Senate standing committee on information and broadcasting threatened to bring a privilege motion against the information minister for reneging on his promises.
“17 meetings of the federal cabinet have been held since the minister promised us to get the bill passed from the cabinet before tabling it in parliament. The law is being deferred for unknown reasons,” Senator Kamil Ali Aga, chairman of the panel, observed. The RIB has been pending for over a decade since an ordinance promulgated by the former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf expired back in 2002.
The bill was declared a basic human right in the 18th amendment parliament adopted in 2010. However, no subsequent law has been passed so far in the center. Director general, internal publicity wing, ministry of information and broadcasting, Nasir Jamal, informed the committee that on the direction of the prime minister another committee had been constituted headed by information minister Pervez Rashid. He claimed that this committee would see the bill, which would then be forwarded to parliament.
However, PPP senator Farhatullah Babar questioned how another committee was constituted despite the fact that the bill was already prepared by the committee and placed before the cabinet.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2016.