Right to Information Ordinance: KPK civil society bodies reject draft

PESHAWAR - A group of civil society organisations on Wednesday rejected the proposed draft for an ordinance on Right to Information by the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and demanded proper legislation in the provincial assembly instead of promulgating an ordinance.

Addressing a news conference here at press club, the Coalition on Right of Information (CRTI), a group of 20 civil society organisations, Coordinator Zahid Abddullah said that the incumbent provincial government prepared a draft proposal in shape of ordinance for ensuring access to information to general public. He said the ordinance to would be highly ineffective and riddled with a number of anomalies and flaws.

He said the civil society groups had also put forward a drafted document on Right to Information but the provincial government was not acting upon it. He regretted that the provincial government was not going to make legislation for access to information to everyone but merely promulgating an ordinance. “Despite the tall claims of the PTI-led government for good governance, he said the drafting of an ordinance was quite immature and ineffective decision that would create ambiguity and complexity after its promulgation. “If the Ordinance was promulgated according to the present drafted document, then it will end up curtailing rather than protecting and promoting citizens’ Right to Information,” he maintained. Flanked by other representative of the RTI, and Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA) Aamir Iqbal, Komal, Atab Khan, and other representative of the civil society group, Zahid said that the drafted law envisaged the establishment of one member information commission like a federal ombudsman would be a failed attempt to properly deliver to the masses as per their expectations.

“The information commission, he said, does not have powers to issue directions to public bodies for proactive disclosure of information, whereas the commission wouldn’t impose penalty on officers for unlawful act of denying to give relevant information. Similarly, he said that most of information would be denied with the introduction of an exempted list in the drafted ordinance on Right to Information by the provincial government. “The CRTI has categorically rejected the drafted ordinance,” he said and asked the government to legislate proper law and enact it as an Act in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after consultation with relevant stakeholders.