Sindh Minister for Labour and Human Resources Saeed Ghani has said that every department should be held accountable, including the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, for their conduct.
He said that the Sindh government was committed to empowering the newly established Information Commission in the province. He stated this on Wednesday at a programme organised under the aegis of the Coalition on Right to Information (CRTI) to observe International Day for Universal Access to Information.
RTI (Right to Information) Awards were also presented on the occasion to Sadia Mazhar in the journalist category and Nadeem Umer in the citizen category for persistently using RTI laws. The Civil Aviation Authority also won the RTI award in the department category for devotedly serving the cause of bringing transparency and implementation of the Right to Information Act.
Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Sharmila Faruqui said on the occasion that the government was required to empower the Sindh Information Commission for effective use of the right to information law to activate the mechanism for transparency and accountability in the province.
She also emphasised the need for adopting e-governance for proactive disclosure of important government-related information through the websites. Mukhtar Ahmad, the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives executive director, explained the importance of information for the media persons and other concerned sections of society, stating that the essence of RTI revolved around online and offline proactive disclosure of information by the government departments.
He appreciated the fact that RTI laws had been enacted in four provinces and at the federal level but said that the implementation of the law remained a questionable affair, especially in Sindh and Balochistan. He encouraged the citizens to use their fundamental right to know to promote transparency, accountability and inclusiveness in society.
Shahid Jatoi, the information commissioner of the Sindh Information Commission, said the commission was trying to implement the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2016, by designation of officials and proactive disclosure of information.
Jatoi said that under the RTI law, every provincial department should proactively disclose information about their actions, decisions and other affairs through their websites — a practice, which he said had remained largely absent in most public offices.