Information Ordinance to empower masses, says Jabbar
LAHORE- Federal Information Minister, Javed Jabbar said that the main objective of Freedom of Information Ordinance was to strengthen the accountability system besides deepening and broadening the process of access to information. “The law will also help strengthen the process of democracy in the country,” he said while speaking at a discourse organized at a local hotel to discuss the proposed draft of Freedom of Information Ordinance 2000.
Secretary Information, Saleem Gul Sheikh Principal Information Officer (PIO), Ashfaq Gondal, Director General, National Archives, Atiq Zafar Sheikh, Chairman Seventh Waged Board for Newspaper Employees, Justice (rtd) Raja Afrasiab Khan and a number of editors and senior journalists from the local press were present on the occasion. Jabbar said that the law when enforced would also empower country’s common citizens and help them have access to the information.
He said that the government had ever stuck to the commitments it made to the people. “We are committed to the holding of local councils elections in December this year according to the Power Devolution Plan announced by the Chief Executive on August 14,” he assured. He urged the senior journalists to send their proposals regarding the drift ordinance by September 30. ” We may extend the deadline by another 15 years,” he said.
He said that the freedom of information law would be promulgated at first at federal level. The provincial governments would follow the suit, he hoped.
He said that a meeting with the Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) was being held on October 2 to discuss the issues like press council and the freedom of information ordinance.
To a question, he said that the government was making strenuous efforts to employ the information technology techniques in its day-to-day business. However he said it would take a long time to make 1million employees of the federal government ministries and corporations computer literate.
He said that the transformation of the present paper-based system into the one based on Information Technology would take several years. He eulogised the role of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for compiling the electoral lists of 65 million voters through the use of IT technology.
He said that government was planning to provide internet access to the people in 400 cities and towns of the country and added that it planned to provide computer facilities at petrol pumps and post offices.
Among others who spoke on the occasion were- Chief Editor, Khabrain, Zia Shahid, Chief Editor, daily Pakistan, Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Chief Editor, daily Ausaf, Hamid Mir, senior journalists- 1.H. Rashid, Rafiq Dogar, M.A. Niazi, Dr. Mehdi Hassan and Dr. Shafique Jullundari besides eminent economist-Dr. Mubashar Hassan.
Source: The Nation