ISLAMABAD: Balochistan and Sindh government should strengthen right to information laws on the lines of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab right to information laws.
These views were expressed on Wednesday by participants of the working group on ‘Strengthening Right to Information Laws in Sindh and Balochistan’ on second day of the conference on Pakistan’s RTI Legislative Regime: Learning from Provincial Legislative Experience.
Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) Executive Director, Amer Ejaz said that Sindh and Balochistan laws have great many structural faults that these cannot be improved through amendments. Balochistan and Sindh governments should enact new laws and repeal the existing laws.
Zafar Ullah Khan, Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education said that budget of information commissions and other regulatory bodies should be approved by the parliament as a charged expenditure on the lines of budget approved for judiciary.
Additional Secretary, Law Department, Sindh Siddique Abbasi said Sindh government was in the process of drafting right to information law for the province. Once this law is drafted, it will be compared with the Freedom of Information Act 2006 and determined whether new law needs to be enacted or amendments can be introduced in the existing law.
Wasay Tareen, Balochistan Ombudsman said that there should be a new law for the Balochistan province on the lines of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab right to information laws. Chief Information Commissioner, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission Sahibzada Mohammad Khalid said that right to information should be made part of the curriculum in order to create awareness amongst people about their rights.
Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab Information Commission, Mazhar Minhas said that political parties did a commendable job of bringing about 18th Amendment through consensus and same consensus should be displayed by political parties to enact right to information law for the federal public bodies.
The participants also demanded Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to restore the status of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission by making Peshawar High Court forum of appeal against the decisions of the commission.