Access for all: Computer operator uses new K-P RTI law to go after his ‘missing’ job

Published: July 18, 2014
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28-year-old was selected but the job was withdrawn suddenly and for no reason. PHOTO: FILE

28-year-old was selected but the job was withdrawn suddenly and for no reason. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: 

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s new law on the Right to Information is not just reserved for state secrets. As 28-year-old Sabahat Ghaznavi found out, it could help him get his job back.

Ghaznavi, who has dabbled in television journalism, had applied for a position as a computer operator at the Bureau of Agriculture Information in December 2013. After the test and interview for the grade 16 post, the merit list was displayed and his name was on it as a successful candidate. It was put up on the notice board at the department but was removed after a short while.

“It made me suspicious about the intentions of the department,” Ghaznavi said. “When I asked why the merit list had been removed, I was told that due to unknown circumstances the job offer has been cancelled and it would be re-advertised in February 2014.” (The job was, in fact, re-advertised in March 2014 in the daily Aaj newspaper.)

Instead of buying this story, Ghaznavi used the new K-P RTI law and went to its commission. He requested its help to give him access to the minutes of the test and interview and the merit list that was produced afterwards. After he was given these documents, he went to the Peshawar High Court and it ruled in his favour.

He joined work as a computer operator on June 25 this year. “I am relieved,” he said. “I got my right through the RTI law.”

Luckily for him the law was passed by the K-P Assembly on October 31, 2013. It aims to ensure transparency and access to information in the province. He says he would never have found out had it not been for the RTI law. It empowered him as a citizen to ask for the relevant documents and find out why his job was re-advertised without any reason.

If there was no RTI law he would not have been able to pursue the source of information. He now feels that RTI-like laws can provide “real stability” in a country and do away with all kinds of corruption and malpractice. “I am here because of the RTI law and I will always spread the word about it to inform other people about using it to beat corruption in society,” he resolved.

It seems that Ghaznavi’s is one of the handful of cases that are surfacing. According to the RTI Commission’s chief Major (retd) Sahibzada Muhammad Khalid, they have received 71 cases so far out of which 31 have been tackled and the rest are being heard. Each case has a 60-day deadline.

For years, government officials have jealously guarded the secrecy of official business but now the RTI law mandates access to information. It is just a matter of using it.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Syeda Shireen Kazmi
    Jul 18, 2014 - 12:16PM

    Thank you Imran Khan.

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  • MAD
    Jul 18, 2014 - 1:08PM

    Proof that RTI works. It empowers people and forces governments to work better as there is increased accountability.

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  • Sidster
    Jul 18, 2014 - 1:26PM

    Thank You Imran Khan

    Recommend

  • nyc
    Jul 18, 2014 - 2:04PM

    While the Punjab and the Federal government focuses on building metro buses, the KP govt focuses on the real issues like corruption and the availability of justice. Good job PTI.

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  • Nouman
    Jul 18, 2014 - 2:07PM

    I have also been wanting to write a letter related to the similar topic as discussed in the above article, but I do not have the relevant knowledge as to how to plea my case and to whom the letter asking for the information should be addressed.
    I haven’t come across any guide explaining how to utilise this law, all I hear in news articles that you do have the right to information but how to exercise that by ourself never get told.
    So if anybody know the procedure to this kindly reply to my this comment.

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  • Lobster
    Jul 18, 2014 - 2:14PM

    Common man getting justice..PTI is slowly delivering its promises!

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  • Furqan butt
    Jul 18, 2014 - 2:27PM

    Now please don’t vote for pmln and ppp…this is enough to prove who’s intentions are sincere

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  • Ebad
    Jul 18, 2014 - 2:37PM

    These are the kind of steps that change the life of a common man.

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  • Saad
    Jul 18, 2014 - 4:17PM

    For the over informed ‘imranists’ Punjab too has an RTI law
    http://www.facebook.com/RTISamjho
    @RTISamjho

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  • Fahad
    Jul 18, 2014 - 4:40PM

    Jazakallah Ebad for the link. May Allah help Imran Khan and guide him to the right path and may the people of Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh also open their minds and support Imran Khan.

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  • Simple Man
    Jul 18, 2014 - 7:03PM

    @Saad:
    Its okay to appreciate good work no matter where is it coming from. Its good that Punjab also has an RTI law hopefully they could enforce it there as well. But PTI deserves the credit here for introducing this law and forcing other provinces to do the same.

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  • abdulrauf akhtar
    Jul 18, 2014 - 7:35PM

    Isha allah KPK will be an example for rest of Pakistan !

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  • Sajjad
    Jul 18, 2014 - 11:09PM

    @Saad. There are major differences between the RTI laws of Punjab and KP. an the law in Punjab gives more powers to civil servants than to the people.
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-25947-Punjab-issues-hasty-ordinance-giving-bureaucrats-the-real-say

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  • Usman
    Jul 19, 2014 - 2:46PM

    This is really wonderful. i myself had the experience appearing before selection boards for interview for a senior post more than once. when the final merit list came out, everyone was really surprised and there were different stories of corruption or favours. Many candidates like me wanted to see the minutes of the meeting of the selection board but could not have this access. if candidates have access to the test, interview meeting minutes, that will really improve or i would say force transparency.

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  • Nouman
    Jul 19, 2014 - 3:27PM

    @Ebad:
    Thank you for this information. :)

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  • Ebad
    Jul 19, 2014 - 5:47PM

    @ Nouman
    The pleasure is all mine. I hope you get justice in your case too!

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