QUETTA: Adviser to CM on Information Sardar Raza Mohammad Barech has said a new draft of the Right to Information Law in Balochistan was being prepared.
“The government is also studying the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act-2013 and the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act-2013 and the new draft information law will benefit from both these laws,” he said while speaking in a roundtable consultation on the ‘Right to Information Legislation in Balochistan: the Way Forward’ on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the majority of participants at the roundtable termed the Balochistan Freedom of Information Act-2005 “ineffective” and urged the government to repeal it and legislate on giving the right of information to people.
“The existing law does not facilitate citizens and journalists in getting information from public bodies. There is a need for an effective right to information law for the province on the lines of those enacted in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” they said.
K-P Chief Information Commissioner Azmat Haneef Orakzai said the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act-2013 was enacted as part of governance reform agenda of the PTI government after consulting civil society.
Punjab Chief Information Commissioner Mazhar Hussain Minhas said the Punjab Information Commission has faced difficulty in implementing the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act-2013, adding the commission has already delivered landmark judgments.
Deputy opposition leader in the Balochistan Assembly Zamarak Khan Piralizai said information is the basic right of citizens and added “it is unfortunate that citizens do not have information about projects being executed under the CPEC”.
CPDI Executive Director Aamer Ejaz said: “Based on the right to information request filed by CPDI, now Punjab Assembly shares attendance record of members of the Punjab Assembly on its website whereas earlier this information was not provided to citizens.”
Balochistan Additional Law Secretary Shaukat Ali informed the roundtable that the Balochistan Freedom of Information Act-2005 will be repealed and replaced with a new law for which draft preparation was in an advanced stage.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2016.