At a formal ceremony to introduce the Right to Information (RTI) Ordinance, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan clarified he would continue to interfere in the province’s business to ensure the party’s agenda of “change” is implemented.
“I am here, telling my Awami National Party (ANP) friends if they thought I would not interfere further, the real interruption will start now as I have recovered from my illness.”
Imran was responding to criticism levelled against him for his involvement in the provincial government’s affairs.
Using the opportunity to speak at a public platform, Imran went on to condemn the use of the Governor House for one person (the governor), calling it a sign of the “colonial era”.
In the opinion of the PTI chairman, “The sprawling house could be used as a park for women.”
To assure his audience of his complete ‘focus’ on K-P, Imran promised he would rush to Peshawar without any delay to “press Pervez Khattak (K-P chief minister)” on any governance issues.
Touching on the reason behind the inauguration, he said the RTI is part of the PTI’s agenda. “The RTI will force the government to speak the truth and will put pressure on the bureaucracy, ministers and the government.” Such laws can only be implemented by those who do not fear the truth, added Imran.
At the launch, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said the previous government “dragged its feet over this (RTI) important legislation in fear of retribution.”
“Cowardly, selfish and self-serving people never become leaders. The PTI-led government has implemented the RTI to ensure transparency and better governance.”
In his briefing on the RTI ordinance earlier, K-P Secretary Information Azmat Hanif called its implementation a historical day for K-P. “The law, which meets international best practice, will go a long way in ensuring transparency in all public sector departments,” said Hanif. “We will be pleased with feedback on the RTI as the ordinance will be taken to the assembly to be made an act within 90 days.” In the assembly, it can be thoroughly discussed and suggestion for changes, if any, are welcome, he added.
Coalition on Right to Information Coordinator Zahid Abdullah told The Express Tribune certain points have to be added to the RTI so it has comprehensive coverage and can serve its purpose. The coalition is a platform of 20 civil society organisations working towards improved information access. “Any law is as good as its implementation mechanism,” said Abdullah.
According to Ahmad Bilal Mehboob from the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency, “The RTI will only be helpful when it changes into a public movement – awareness is key for it to become a movement”.
Under the ordinance, ‘information’ means any data related to the constitution, structure and official activities of a public body, giving access to transactions, budgets, expenditures, purchases, contracts, licences, appointments, and salaries, among other things. A ‘K-P Information Commission’ will be constituted to exercise the powers conferred by the ordinance. It will be headed by a chief information commissioner and have two other members. The commission will be vested with the powers of a civil court. This includes, but is not limited to, summoning people to give evidence or produce documents, discovery of documents, requisitioning public records, and compensating applications.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2013.
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@aaaaa: "Meanwhile, Punjab administration has tried to outsmart its counterpart in KP by advertising the draft law asking public at large to help" - From your shared link. PTI is doing it for the public, not to outsmart its opponents. The actual Free of Information was brought in by 2002 and revised till 2010. But it proved of not much use due to the loop holes. However, PTI has done its best to remove the errors keeping in focus the Previous RTI acts and well as the India RTI act.
@Liaqat Yousufzai: "It is a step towards transparency and transparency encourages investment and investment creates jobs leading to prosperity of a society." A===>B======>C======>D======>E Well for your information, not every developed country has transparancy policy. China and India are good examples. Rather than going in circles, draft an investor friendly policy and then ruthlessly pursue it, ensure that every MoU converts into an economic project. KPK will prosper despite not having RTI.
@aaaaa @directive I highly appreciate both governments for these acts. It doesn't matter whether it is from pmln or pti, or for punjab or kpk, but the matter is, it is for the betterment of Pakistan. May God bless both.
@aaaaa: :P Here another question arises that why this RTI was not introduced during last 5 years of PMLn punj gov??.. Why only after Ik talked about it???
"While Punjab has publicised the draft law in order to seek feedback from public, KP is set to unveil revised draft law within a week."
@Xnain: For your information, it is a step towards transparency and transparency encourages investment and investment creates jobs leading to prosperity of a society.
@abc: "prosperous KPK." ????? This is not an economic initiative, nor a support to the real economy.
A step towards new beginning and prosperous KPK.
RTI law in Punjab has already been presented. At the moment, it is being advertised in public to gain feedback from relevant civil society organizations. You're commenting on a law that spreads awareness, but have no awareness yourself. Ironic, no?
RTI is the first step to bring change in province and batter for good governess but my wish is that ordinance converted in to the law
Imran Khan should replace CM Khattak with himself. It's time to take the driver's seat Mr.Khan
@Np: It was passed as an ordinance cause PA not in session. the bill will be taken before the PA in the coming session to become law.
RTI is a ood initiative. But why is it an ordinance, why not a law?
The real difference between Punjab and KPK is that a common man in Punjab doesn't know or care about RTI, whereas it will soon be an act in KPK. Imran Khan is the only politician talking about real democracy and laws that help transform a country into a real democracy.
This is the beginning of a real change inshaAllah .. a lot more to come ... beat of Luck PTI
Well Done Khan, Pakistan is blessed to have a leader like Imran Khan.