Making Officials Accountable : K-P Govt Urged to Appoint Remaining Information Commissioners

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar on Tuesday urged the provincial government to appoint the two remaining information commissioners so the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Information Commission can become functional.

The government was also urged to remove anomalies in the K-P Right to Information (RTI) Act 2013 and to launch an awareness campaigns about the law. The seminar titled ‘Roles and Responsibilities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission: the Way Forward’ had been organized by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) in Peshawar.

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Addressing participants, Minister for Health Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said RTI and other laws being enacted in the province by his government will pave the way for good governance in K-P.

Former secretary information Azmat Orakzai provided a comprehensive analysis of the RTI law and said the legislation will bring a change. “Citizens will have the right to ask questions from public officials and make them accountable.”

CPDI Executive Director Mukhtar Ahmed Ali noted certain anomalies in the RTI law need to be removed. “The superior judiciary being exempted under the law and such exemption is not granted in other right to information laws in the country,” said Ali.

The Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA) has submitted a number of information requests, however, the relevant officials have not responded as yet, shared Zahoor Khan, the executive director of CGPA.

“It is important to train public officials to respond to information requests filed by citizens,” said Khan.

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The provincial government should appoint the remaining two Information commissioners without delay so the Information Commission is made functional, emphasised Zahid Abdullah, the chief of CPDI’s Transparency and Right to Information programme.