PTI Chairman and MNA Imran Khan and members of the KPK Assembly sitting on stage during the workshop on the “Right to Information Law” organised by the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at a local hotel. —INP Photo
ISLAMABAD: Taking part in a discussion on the Right to Information Act, which will be introduced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has said the law will make the provincial government speak the truth.
Speaking at a workshop on Friday, he said transparency was necessary for democracy to flourish as it helped in improving governance and reducing corruption.
The workshop was organised by the Mishal Pakistan group in collaboration with the KP’s information ministry.
Opposing military operation in Karachi, the PTI chief underlined the need to depoliticise Sindh police through reforms and other changes. In reference to the 1992 military operation in the city, Mr Khan said both police and the public had to face dangerous consequences and the situation this time around was totally unfavourable for the army to take any action because of its engagement in Waziristan.
The PTI chief also announced opening of the Governor House in Peshawar to welfare activities, while demanding demolishing the wall of Lahore’s Governor House to create space for libraries and playgrounds.
Information law was the most important component of his party’s manifesto through which the PTI-led government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would ensure transparency and accountability in its affairs, he said.
Other major points soon to be implemented included setting up of an independent commission, empowerment of people at grassroots level through introduction of local government system and total overhauling of educational and health systems, Mr Khan added.
Provincial Information Secretary Azmat Haneef Orakzai while explaining salient features of the information ordinance said its constitutional life was 90 days hence it would be laid before the provincial assembly for adoption as an act.
The ordinance envisages setting up a commission to be headed by a retired senior government servant as chief information commissioner within 120 days. Other three members include a retired judge of a high court to act as chief justice, an advocate to be chosen by the bar council and a civil society representative to be engaged by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Those having grievances of not being provided the required information will have a right to lodge a complaint with the commission and the case will be decided within 60 days.
The commission will not only order disclosing information but will impose a fine from Rs250 per day up to a maximum of Rs25,000 on official found obstructing an activity falling in the ambit of ordinance.
Adviser to KP Chief Minister on economic affairs Rafaqatullah Babar said that the law makes it a penal offence on those found obstructing access to any record or to the performance by a public body, destroying record without lawful authority and interfering in commission’s working. Anyone found guilty of anyone offence will be fined up to Rs5,000 or imprisoned for two years.
Balochistan and Sindh had introduced similar laws in 2005 and 2006 respectively but the KP law was being dubbed by experts more progressive since it envisaged setting up of an information commission.