Punjab governor’s go-slow delays important media freedom law
ISLAMABAD: The Governor Punjab did not promulgate the proposed Punjab Freedom of Information Ordinance 2013 though caretaker CM Najam Sethi wanted him to do it.
The governor has left it for the new elected government to consider. The entire work on Punjab Freedom of Information Bill 2013 was done by Mian Shahbaz Sharif’s government and the cabinet had also approved it and the only exercise left was to put it before the house.
The sources in Punjab Government disclosed to The News that the caretaker CM wanted that Punjab Freedom of Information Bill is promulgated in the shape of an ordinance by the Governor.
The sources maintained that on 17 May 2013, Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, the Principal Secretary to Governor wrote to PS to Caretaker CM that “The Governor Punjab has seen and observed that in the wake of holding of General Election 2013, it would be prudent to leave the matter for consideration by the newly elected government.”
The spokesman of Punjab Government, Amjad Bhatti while talking to The News said that he has no idea what the Governor has opined on the summary sent by caretaker CM of Punjab regarding Punjab’s freedom of information law.
He added that Mr Najam Sethi was keen to promulgate it in the shape of an ordinance because the entire work on the law has been done by the previous government and even the cabinet has approved it and now when the new assembly will come and start the legislative business, it may take some time.
“All we wanted to do was to promulgate it as an ordinance and the new assembly would have rectified it”, said the Punjab government’s spokesman. Amjad Bhatti was of the view that because Mr Najam Sethi was from media therefore he was interested in getting this law enacted.
It is worth mentioning here that Najam Sethi had been saying in his interviews that he would gift the Freedom of Information law before his departure from the office of caretaker chief minister.
Legal experts say that now that governor has returned the summary of promulgation of Freedom of Information Ordinance, if Mr Najam Sethi resends the summary, the governor would be left with no option but to promulgate it.
Sources in Punjab also say that the same has happened with the promulgation of ordinance of Independent Commission for Women as governor has left it upon the next elected government to do this job.
Source: The News