Electoral violence against women

Violence against women during elections is a grave issue with a long-lasting impact on women’s participation in politics and public life. In Pakistan, many women face obstacles to participating in elections. These include cultural and social barriers, lack of access to information and resources and physical threats and violence. Women are underrepresented in decision-making roles and have limited access to power and influence. As a result, violence against women in elections undermines women’s equal access to the democratic process, whether as voters, candidates, polling staff, polling agents or elected leaders. Continue reading

Away from public gaze

Balochistan replaced its ineffective Balochistan Freedom of Information Act, 2005 with a more promising Balochistan Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2021, in February 2021. There can be no doubt that this was a move in the right direction, aimed at improving service delivery, transparency and accountability in governance. Continue reading

Evading accountability

The Right to Know Day is celebrated globally on September 28. The objective of the observance is to share ideas, strategies and success stories about the development of the right-to-information laws that have led towards genuinely transparent governance and provided a way forward for improving accountability around the world. More than 135 countries have so far legislated access to information laws. Continue reading

Right to Information landscape in Pakistan

Information is considered as oxygen of democracy. If citizens are unaware of the rulers’ actions, then they cannot take a meaningful part in the affairs of the society. In Pakistan, there exists a culture of secrecy that allows space for continued incidence of inefficiencies, mismanagements, corruption, nepotism, and embezzlement of public funds. These symptoms indicate to lack of trust between citizens and the state, as citizens’ participation in governance without an adequate flow of information is not possible. Right to Information has a unique importance in promoting civil rights. This right cuts across all other rights that any state bestows to their citizens, e.g., rule of law, freedom of speech, right to representation, right to equal opportunities and consumer rights. Continue reading

Crises or Not, people’s right to information remains in the mid-air!

As of today, the only continent left without a case of Coronavirus-COVID 19 in Antarctica[1]. The economic, social and political focus of the international comity right; from Tokyo to New York and Germany to Jamaica is vested to find an effective way to whitewash the contagious virus. In this time of crucial decision making at the level of government, availability, and disclosure of information to the public becomes preeminent. The current times call for greater transparency and maximum proactive disclosure of information by government departments. Continue reading

14 Years of Choking Public Rights

How many more years will Balochistan take to move towards progressive Right to Information (RTI) law which is both citizen friendly and helpful to journalists? While all other provinces and the federal government has adopted to the progressive, robust and citizen friendly Second Generation Right to Information Laws, Balochistan is still holding on to the “Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005” for past 14 years. Continue reading

Human Rights and what you need to know!

From ancient civilizations to today’s contemporary scientifically advanced world; from mythologies to major world religions, human rights have always had a special significance. With time, these rights have morphed in a universal language. Despite the nature of the states, this language has strongly embedded its roots in human civilization. Whether it is democracy or dictatorship, the civil and political rights of an individual are taking progressive steps, whereby the provision and protection of these rights has become obligatory for every state. Continue reading