The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has introduced Right to Information (RTI) helpline to facilitate citizens in filing information requests to public offices.
The announcement in this regard was made in a press conference organised by CPDI. Citizens can now call 051-2224496 to get assistance in filing of information request to public offices.
The CPDI experts on RTI will help the citizens for assistance on helpline.
Speaking to the media, Program Manager CPDI Syed Kausar Abbas said that six months had passed since the law for Right to Information has been passed in Punjab, but till now no Public Information Officer has been appointed in this institution.
“A free and self-reliant information commission was set up for access to information, but till date Punjab commission has not started functioning. Punjab Government should instantly setup an office and designate staff for information commission, and fix a specific amount for developmental and non-developmental budget as well as the salaries for staff of information commission in the upcoming Provincial Budget,” demanded Abbas.
He appreciated the legislation for RTI in KPK and Punjab. “The federal government should also take steps towards implementations of RTI as soon as possible. Through RTI, the citizens will get a chance to make government offices accountable.” He said that RTI is the best tool for accountability of public institutions.
He said that CPDI has launched helpline service to facilitate the citizens for RTI, where every citizen would be guided to access the information and can get all assistance regarding the RTI process.
He also identified that in KPK, positive and progressive development has been made by hiring Public Information Officers in all public offices at district level. “Through this, citizens can now file information request to the concerned public information officer to get information about institutions.” He said Information Commission has started its operations in KPK, whereas in Punjab, it has not started functioning which is resulting in problem faced by the general public in information access.
He said that the bureaucracy is taking the process for access to information for granted. He also mentioned that in accordance to the Punjab RTI act, any citizen can request authorities on a plain paper for access to information.
“According to RTI, every citizen can access information about public record of offices which includes performance of public offices, copies of the budget and its expenditures, copies of contracts and procurement process, details of developmental schemes. etc and any information pertaining to the general public.”