Local Governments in Sindh Province are in place since last year after the LG elections under the Local Government Act 2013. The absence of Local Government budget rules jeopardizes the financial authority promised by the constitution to the district governments. Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, (CPDI) demands formulation of local government budget rules in Sindh. The province has its new local government law ‘Sindh Local Government Act, 2013’ in place but no budget rules have yet been devised to execute the budget making function at district level.
While Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh have enacted effective right to information laws, federal Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 and Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005 are the most ineffective right to information laws in the country, according to Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, (CPDI).
SAHIWAL: The Punjab government has drastically slashed awareness and advocacy budget approved in 2014-15 after passage of ‘The Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013’.
ISLAMABAD: The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CDPI) while welcoming the development that government has expedited the process of legislation on Right to Information (RTI), urged that the government should also include the stakeholders in legislation on RTI.
PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar on the right to information have said public participation in budget making process and transparency in the utilisation of allocated funds is vital for judicious utilisation of public funds.
Why is effective right to information law important for good governance? It is so because it enables citizens and journalists to get certified information and copies of records available with public bodies as a right and not as a favor of public officials. Furthermore, an effective right to information law allows citizens and journalists to get information from public bodies on topics and timing of their own choosing. In the absence of a right to information law, public bodies share only that information that they deem fit to disclose and on the time of their own choosing. Therefore, a good right to information law is a prerequisite for accountability of public officials and elected representatives.
ISLAMABAD: It seems there is relative lack of understanding about the purpose of right to information legislation in government circles as demonstrated by the interior minister on Sunday when he said that no one will be allowed to hide behind the Right to Information Act.
ISLAMABAD: The Coalition on Right to Information (CRTI) on Thursday said that government circles lacked understanding about the purpose of ‘right to information legislation’.
In response to a statement by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the CRTI, a consortium of 48 civil society organisations working to protect and promote citizens’ right to information, observed: “It seems there is relative lack of understanding about the purpose of right to information legislation in government circles as demonstrated by the interior minister on Sunday when he said that no one will be allowed to hide behind Right to Information Act.”
The interior minister during his news conference last week on the issue of alleged security leaks in a news story published in Dawn had said: “It is a national security issue and no one should hide behind the right to protect the source.” He said that “now the reporter is the only best source”.
The CRTI urged the government to empower the proposed Pakistan Information Commission with regard to ensuring disclosure of information in matters of public interest and protecting sensitive information. It believed that effective right to information laws not only facilitated easy and cost-effective access to information held by public bodies but also protected privileged and sensitive information from disclosure.
“That is why independent and autonomous information commissions are established under right to information laws to ensure that information likely to cause damage to national security, privacy of individuals, economic interests and other such matters is protected from disclosure,” the CRTI statement said.
Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2016