The provincial governments of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Punjab have failed to comply with their own right to information (RTI) laws of their provinces, a report published by the Digital Rights Foundation claimed this week.
According to the report, “The State of Proactive Disclosure of Information in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Public Bodies,” the Punjab and K-P governments have failed to comply with RTI laws which require public bodies in both the provinces to proactively disclose categories of information mentioned in Sections 5 and 4 of K-P Right to Information Act 2013 and Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013 respectively.
The report was conducted to measure the use of online forum by the public bodies six months after the two laws came into force.
While recognising that public departments had adopted the latest web standards, have created and maintained a web presence, there is significant lack of tangible reforms adopted to implement key sections of the respective laws of the provinces.
The report, which analysed 17 departments of Punjab government and 12 departments of K-P, ranks the degree of sharing and openness adopted by the two provincial governments’ on a scale of zero-10, where zero equates to “doesn’t meet the provision”, and 10 equates to “completely follows the provision”.
On information of public body, its functions and duties, Punjab scored an average score of 6.76, while K-P scored 7.08 out of a possible 10. On the question of transparency regarding budget of the public body including details of all proposed and actual expenditures K-P scored better than Punjab, scoring 1.5 to Punjab’s 0.64.
The report also revealed that there was very little or no information available to the public regarding the categories of information being held by the public body. In this category K-P scored zero, while Punjab scored a meager 0.29.
The situation was even worse regarding the public disclosure of the recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by the public bodies; in this regard both K-P and Punjab scored zero and 0.11 on average, respectively.
Much was need to be done by the K-P Information Commission and Punjab Information Commission to ensure that public bodies comply with the right to information laws and make information available for the public consumption.