Call to implement right to information law
Karachi: Reduction of corruption and promotion of good governance is only possible through the implementation of right to information (RTI) law, which will empower the citizens and ensure their participation in public affairs.
This was stated by civil society activists and RTI experts at a consultation organised by the Development, Environment, Legal Aid Technical Support and Advocacy Association (DELTA) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
President DELTA Nazlee Sardar urged the participants to empower themselves and demand their right to information by pressurising the Sindh government to repeal the toothless law and replace it with stronger laws as like in KPK and Punjab.
She presented recommendations for improving RTI situation, like training information officers and getting the amended law translated in local languages for better understanding by community. She informed that DELTA had been holding consultations in all the four provinces of the country to press the demand for immediate implementation of RTI.
Hashim Zaidi from UNDP said that their organisation was implementing a program to make RTI operational in Pakistan and this consultation was part of the program. Dr Riffat Sardar presented a comparative review of Freedom of Information Act-2006, Sindh, and showed various flaws in the law as compared to the KPK and Punjab.
“For instance, the law in KPK protects a whistle blower within the bureaucracy if an employee of the government exposes corruption of senior officials, however, the law in Sindh does not have any such clause,” Dr Riffat said.
President Initiator Human Development Foundation Rana Asif Habib said that in a democracy, the citizens own the right to know how their elected representatives have been running the government.
“We need to understand that it’s not a privilege but a right, and all the stakeholders in the province should make efforts to implement a transparent law in Sindh,” he said.
Lawmakers from different political parties from Sindh participated in the panel discussion. They appreciated the efforts of DELTA and UNDP and resolved to work for improving the legal situation in Sindh as well as trying to come up with stronger RTI law in the province.