Depts urged to follow the law on right to information

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar on Thursday asked the government departments to fully implement the Right to Information Act 2013 and ensure the speedy provision of the sought-after information to the people to their benefit.

They also urged the people to use the law to play an effective role in the development of the province.

The seminar on ‘challenges, opportunities and way forward’ was organised jointly by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa RTI Commission and Centre for Governance and Public Accountability here.

Commissioner of Punjab Information Commission Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa RTI Commission Chief Information Commissioner Sahibzada Mohammad Khalid, Commissioner Abdul Matin, Commissioner Professor Kalimullah, CGPA Executive Director Mohammad Anwar and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly members Ziaullah Bangash and Syed Jafar Shah spoke on the occasion.

Member of civil society organisations also participated in the event.

Official says delay in provision of sought-after information to people won’t be tolerated

Sahibzada Khalid highlighted the important role of public information officers and urged them to fully own the law,

He warned no delay in the provision of the information sought under the provincial RTI law to the people would be tolerated.

The Punjab Information Commission’s commissioner declared the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa RTI Commission one of the best functioning in the country and said other provinces could learn a lot from it to ensure transparency and accountability.

He appreciated the efficiency of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa RTI Commission and said it had shown tremendous progress in short span of time by providing training to more than 500 PIOs and addressing around 300 complaints.

Mukhtar Ahmad said the Punjab Information Commission faced many problems, including unavailability of proper offices and staff, but he was optimistic that they would end in few months.

He urged PIOs to implement what they learnt during the training sessions on the RTI law and ensure the people’s easy access to the relevant information.

RTI Commissioner Professor Kalimullah said the frequent posting and transfer of PIOs could create problems not only for the commission but also for the relevant departments and thus, delaying provision of the sought-after information to the people within the specified time.

“An element of motivation in shape of certain perks and privileges for PIOs should be there for vibrant RTI regime in the region,” he said.

RTI Commissioner Abdul Matin said it was not the business of any public organisation to decide about which information is classified and which should be shared with the people under the RTI law.

“It is only the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa RTI Commission’s job to decide about such matters,” he said.

The RTI commissioner also said the commission faced some problems from various government departments accustomed to secrecy of their affairs as they turned to bureaucratic tactics to deny provision of the sought-after information to the people but it was committed to implementing the RTI law in letter and spirit.