Information ministry given three weeks to draft bill
By: WAQAR LILLAH
The Information Ministry would draft the proposed freedom of information bill in consultation with relevant stakeholders in three weeks, a Sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting said on Friday. The committee proposed that the bill would be renamed as ‘right to information bill`, instead of freedom of information.
The committee said that new amendments in the proposed bill would be made by the Information Ministry, instead of the Cabinet Division by getting input from all stakeholders, including media organisations. Senator Farhatullah Babar presided over the meeting of the sub-committee held in parliament which discussed the proposed bill.
Farhatullah Babar directed the Sectary Information and Broadcasting, Rashid Ahmed to inform the committee about a mechanism of giving security code to official document like confidential, classified and secret during the next meeting.
The committee members said that the government believed in freedom of information, as every citizen should have the right of access to information under Article 19(a) of Freedom of Information Bill, 2008. Realising international trends towards more openness and transparency, efforts were under way to promote transparency and accountability in government departments. “However, access to information is a key factor in this regard,” they added.
The sub-committee has given the information ministry three weeks to draft the bill. Committee members included Senators Syed Zafar Ali Shah and Muhammad Daud Khan Achakzai. Secretary Information and Broadcasting Rashid Ahmed and other government officials also attended the meeting.