Walk calls for right to information law
ISLAMABAD: A walk was held from the National Press Club to parliament, demanding the government to fulfil its promises and enact the right to information law, replacing the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002, so that citizens and journalists could have access to information held by public bodies.
The walk was organised by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) and was largely attended by journalists, political parties and people belonging to different walks of life.
Despite repeated promises like one made by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in his first address to the National Assembly after his nomination as prime minister and the commitment made by him in his first address to the joint sitting of the parliament, federal government has not presented the draft bill on right to information in parliament.
Such promises were made by the former information ministers of the government as well.
CPDI Executive Director, Mukhtar Ahmed Ali, said that under Article 19-A of the constitution, access to information was a fundamental right and the government was constitutionally bound to enact a right to information law.
It is only through the right of having access to official documents that the journalists can have access to information held by government as a right and can thus ensure judicious utilisation of public money. He lamented the fact that Punjab, despite being the biggest province of the country, had not legislated to provide its residents easy access to information held by provincial departments. He stressed upon the provincial government to present the draft right to information law in the provincial assembly. Speaking on the occasion, CPDI representative Zahid Abdullah reminded President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, chief Nawaz Sharif, about their promises of enacting information laws in the country.
In his address, Rawalpindi District Bar Council Jawad Khalid said that corruption in the country could only be rooted out through an effective right to information law. In his speech, Tehreek-e-Insaf central spokesman, Sadaqat Abbasi, said that it was the responsibility of parliament to enact laws that are beneficial for the common people.
Source: Daily Times