PESHAWAR: A new era of disclosure of information to the public has been initiated under the Right to Information (RTI) law and the status quo has been broken, said the province’s Chief Information Commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Khalid on Tuesday.
According to a press release, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) RTI Commission’s chief officer said this while addressing a one-day training workshop for public information officers (PIO) arranged at Kohat University of Science and Technology (KUST).
PIOs of various government departments from Kohat, Karak and Hangu districts, RTI Commissioners Abdul Mateen and Kalimullah and KUST Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Nasir Jamal Khattak were in attendance.
Khalid said the workshop aimed to help PIOs develop an understanding of their role and responsibilities so that when a request for information is made, they are fully-equipped to help the public.
“Under the RTI law, all records of government departments will be available at their websites,” added Khalid.
RTI Commissioner Abdul Mateen briefed the participants on the background and history of RTI as well as the powers and role of the K-P RTI Commission.
“The law is in place to bridge the gulf between the rulers and the public and K-P’s law has all the necessary features to assist the public,” said Mateen.
Commissioner Kalimullah in his address elaborated on the information requests which are exempt from the RTI law. He also explained the nature of such information as well as the reasons as to why the information has been exempted from being divulged.
“The RTI law is the need of the hour and that is why it has been implemented in the province to bring in place a transparent system for accessing information,” he added.
Kalim urged the PIOs to study the law in detail and develop a clear understanding of their responsibilities so that the government’s intended agenda of good governance is realised.
KUST VC Professor Dr Nasir Jamal Khattak in his concluding remarks termed the RTI law of vital importance for establishing a society that could successfully move toward development on the basis of transparent governance.
The officers of the commission also answered questions and briefed participants on the various provisions of
The RTI bill was unanimously passed by the K-P Assembly on October 31 and was sent to the office of the then governor Shaukatullah Khan to be signed. Khan signed the act in December when Sahibzada Muhammad Khalid was also appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2014.