Need for enactment of Right to Information stressed

Peshawar, Participants at a training workshop have stressed the need for enactment of Right to Information aimed at bringing transparency and improvement in the governance system, called for involvement of local community in budget making process.

The training workshop titled: Budget Advocacy and Accountability held under auspices of Center for Governance and Public Accountability CGPA, a non-governmental organization here at local hotel on Thursday. A large number of representatives from different media organizations, students, members of civil society organization were attended the event.

On the occasion, the CGPA Program coordinator, Abid Hussain and Azra Nafees, Executive coordinator, briefed the participants about key objective of the advocacy meeting.

Abid Hussain in his detailed presentation informed the participants that the organisation had

launched a Promoting of Public Accountability Project, aimed at creating awareness about significance of enforcement of Article-19-A in light of 18th constitutional amendments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province. He highlighted the issues and problems being faced by people for attainment of budgeting documents and other relevant information due to lacking of promulgation of RTI in the province.

Though, he said the enforcement of RTI had become mandatory for Pakistan by funding from international donors agencies, particularly Asian Development Bank (ADB), but the former KP government had failed in enactment of the freedom of information Act, despite conditional funding from donors states.

In this regard, he said his organization was carried out a consultative process by taking relevant stakeholders, including civil society organizations, members of legal fraternity, public representatives and media organizations.

The participants said that the enforcement of Article-19 was eminent for brining transparency and improvement in the existing governance system. They said the Punjab and Sindh province had made progress in legislating freedom of information Act, but the KP lagging behind in this regard.

They viewed the effective functioning of democracy depends upon the participation in public life of a citizenry that is well informed. Throughout the world, `Freedom of Information (FoI) laws are changing the characterization of democratic governance.

They further added there was not developed a solid mechanism to hold government officials accountable for utilization of development funds at districts level in absence of the promulgation of Article-19-A.

The participants called upon the public representatives from different political parties to include in their political manifesto to enact freedom of information Act and to rationalize the manipulation tactics of government officials in provision of relevant information and documents to general public.