National RTI News

July 2014

Departments asked to ensure People’s Access to Information

Chief Information Commissioner of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information (RTI) Commission Sahibzada Mohammad Khalid asked the administrative departments of the provincial government to update their respective official websites regularly and make sure public access to information. He said that the trend of maintaining secrecy on departmental level was now the thing of the past.

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Senate body recommends amendments in Right to Information Bill

Senate’s Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage recommended a number of amendments in the draft Right to Information Bill 2013 aiming to improve and ensuring dissemination of smooth information to the people. The committee after debate abolished the provision of implementing the Right to Information Act only after the issuance of notification of the federal government (despite passage by the parliament and signatures of the president). Senator Farhatullah Babar strongly objected the provision, saying the government must not be given the authority of implementing the right to information act to its choicest date.

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Everyone has right to question PM House expenditure: LHC

The Lahore High Court observed that every citizen had the right to question the expenditures being incurred on the Prime Minister’s House. Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan passed these remarks hearing a petition questioning acquisition of bullet proof cars and sniffing dogs for the PM’s House.

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Born to be neglected: Fate of Right to Information Act hangs in balance

Six months after the introduction of the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act (RTI) 2014, the government has failed to implement the legislation and has not reserved any funds for the purpose in this year’s budget.

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On the Internet: Punjab, K-P not complying with their own Right to Information Laws

The provincial governments of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Punjab have failed to comply with their own RTI laws of their provinces, a report published by the Digital Rights Foundation claimed.

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June 2014

Seminar on Freedom of Information

Speakers at a seminar held on 'Freedom of Information and Whistle Blower Protection' stressed the need for disseminating awareness among people for their right to freedom of information, suggesting that laws concerning freedom of information should be implemented in letter and spirit. The event was organized by Transparency International Pakistan and National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

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Launch of Right to Information Helpline

The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has introduced Right to Information (RTI) helpline to facilitate citizens in filing information requests to public offices.

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PIOs asked to get familiar with Information Law

In Peshawar, speakers at a consultative workshop have said that the government should implement the RTI Act and ensure that the public information officers extend full cooperation to public in provision of the required information within the shortest possible time.

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May 2014

Proposals about right to information body hailed

The Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP) has welcomed the proposals of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting regarding establishment of an independent and autonomous information commission at the federal level and providing legal protection to whistleblowers.

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Punjab’s Right to Information law

Under Article-19-A of Constitution of Pakistan, Right to Information (RTI) is a constitutional right available to all citizens. Accordingly, Punjab Assembly enacted a landmark legislation “The Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2013”on December 16, 2013 to ensure RTI across the Province.

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April 2014

Punjab Transparency Right to Information (RTI) Act yet to be fully implemented

According to clause 7 of the Punjab Transparency and RTI Act 2013, all public bodies should have designated and notified public information officers (PIO) within 60 days of the passing of the act. The government has yet to notify PIOs for public bodies.

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Cabinet deferred federal RTI Bill 2014

The cabinet deferred the federal Right to Information Bill, 2014 and the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the ministry concerned to undertake further consultations with the opposition and other stakeholders.

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Training held for public information officers (PIOs)

While addressing a training workshop for PIO, Chief Information Commissioner of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) said that a new era of disclosure of information to the public has been initiated under KP RTI law.

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An unused right

Various international and domestic factors have led to the adoption of RTI laws across the world over the last 25 years. More than 90 countries now have laws on access to information, up from 13 in 1990.

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March 2014

Two Pakistani Provinces Implementing New Laws

Two Pakistani provinces i.e. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab have taken somewhat delayed steps to implement recently passed Right to Information (RTI) laws. Both provinces completed the appointment of their information commissioners. KP Information Commission has also started training of Public Information Officers.

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Right to Know

Under Right to Information laws, people are free to ask important questions about government functioning to unearth fraud, corruption and poor governance.

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World Consumer Rights Day 2014

As consumers, we are a part of every transaction that takes place in Pakistan. We are at the heart of many of the opportunities and challenges faced by the Nation. Yet, while our money speaks, our voice is often not heard. This was stated by Mr. Waseem Hashmi of Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP) in a Roundtable Discussion to mark the World Consumer Rights Day 2014.

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February 2014

President moved against himself

A Karachi-based Right to Information (RTI) activist has filed an appeal to the President of Pakistan against the Presidency for denying information sought under a presidential ordinance about the expenses on Hajj of President and his relatives.

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Shahbaz using his private cars for official duty, reveals Punjab government

Chief Minister Punjab has answered the first RTI request leaving the requester surprised by replying that he uses his private vehicle for official business, pays fuel charges from his pocket and there is no protocol vehicle deputed for him.

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RTI Laws at Federal Level

At international level, RTI is regarded as a fundamental right of every citizen. RTI laws not only open doors of information to the public at large but also empower citizens to seek any information and record held by the public bodies.

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January 2014

Greater Transparency: Advocating Stronger Right to Information (RTI) Laws

There is a need to enhance the mandate of the ombudsmen and strengthen RTI laws at the federal level. These demands were made by participants of a discussion on the “Federal Right to Information Bill, 2013 and Role of Ombudsmen” organized by CRCP on January, 30, 2014.

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Ombudsman, the Neglected Institution in Pakistan

Established in 1983, the institution of Ombudsman in Pakistan is years ahead than any in the region. However, it is the most under-utilized institution in the country.

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December 2013

Information about Haj Expenses under Information Rights Law

President Mamnoon Hussain is resisting to respond to a Freedom of Information request about his Haj expenses and is thus violating the Freedom of Information (FOI) Ordinance promulgated in 2002 and is still in force. It acknowledges public right to know about everything and everybody using taxpayers’ money.

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Inadequate Representation: Legal Anomaly Prevents RTI law’s Extension to FATA

Though Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) recently introduced the right to information (RTI) legislation but the neighbouring tribal belt still has a long way to go before any such law is put in place. Civil society members say Article 247 of the Constitution prevents the RTI law from being extended to FATA.

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Punjab Clears Right to Information Bill

On December 12, 2013, provincial legislators passed “The Punjab Transparency and Right to Information (RIT) Bill 2013” despite severe criticism from opposition members who said the bill is “unclear” and “negates the freedom of speech” as enshrined in the constitution.

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