Call for protecting people’s right to information
SANGHAR: Social activists at a seminar on Friday asked the government to recognise, respect and protect the people’s basic rights, including their right to information, which is necessary for good governance.
The seminar titled ‘Right to Information: A way forward to good governance’ was held at the district council hall of Sanghar and was organised by a non-governmental organisation, SAWFCO, in collaboration with Oxfam.
Giving a keynote speech, civil society activist Zulfiqar Halepoto said that it was a universally recognised principle that good governance was a key to sustainable, pro-poor development and democratisation of societies and added that it could only be achieved through allowing social audit, accountability and transparency in government functioning.
He said that in order to achieve the goal of real progress at grass-roots level, people’s access to all public interest records and information was imperative.
He said that people’s access to all records of policies, decisions and development was their fundamental human right recognised by national and international laws.
“And after the 18th amendment and insertion of Section-A in Article 19 of the constitution, the right to information law has become a foundation for empowering people at grass-roots level,” he added.
On the occasion, SAWFCO chief Suleman G. Abro said that collective efforts were needed to protect citizens’ rights and added that a common citizen did not know as to how much money in a district budget was set aside under what heads and how it was being utilised.
He claimed that the Pakistani government had spent billions of dollars on the war on terror over the past several years, but it had badly affected the infrastructure development in the country.
He said that taxpayers’ money was being spent on warfare, which should have been invested in the nation’s progress, prosperity and protection.
He said the economy of rural areas of Sindh was in bad shape and crops had no cover of insurance against natural calamities. He wondered as to why insurance of crops was not carried out to protect the rural economy.
He said that the rural areas of Sindh had no education, health and roads facilities and the people were deprived of basic amenities in blatant breach of constitutional provisions.