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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information (RTI) Commission has begun visits to government departments to examine if the sought-after information is provided to the people in line with the provincial RTI Act, 2013.

This was stated by RTI Commission’s information commissioner Professor Kalimullah during a daylong seminar at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI) here.

Chief information commissioner of the commission Sahibzada Mohammad Khalid, commissioner Abdul Matin, KPCCI president Fawad Ishaq, vice president Iqbal Afridi, former president Ghulam Sarwar Mohmand and other businessmen were present on the occasion.

Professor Kalimullah told participants that to check out what the government departments were doing regarding pro-active publication of their records under the law, including their websites, the RTI commission would continue conducting supervisory visits as empowered by the law.

He said as an initiative, the commission began doing so by visiting the local government, irrigation and communication and works departments asking the relevant authorities to abide by the law.

Official says law on right to information to be extended to Pata

The RTI commission’s chief information commissioner said the real benefit of RTI law would only be visible once businessmen and people from other walks of life began using it for transparency and good governance in the province.

He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa RTI law would be extended to the provincially administered tribal areas.

The chief information commissioner said currently, citizens including those from far-flung areas were using the law to ensure transparency in government contracts, and other institutions.

He said the commission had so far received 148 complaints and 74 of them had been disposed of within the specified time.

RTI commissioner Abdul Matin said after around 90 years of the Official Secret Act, the RTI law was in place ensuring nothing would be secret in official business under the law.

He said a citizen’s request for information regarding the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on the use of official helicopter and its expenses had been provided to the relevant people under the RTI law.

“The RTI law is giving the people access to the government department files, which were earlier out of bounds for them,” he said.

The KPCCI president appreciated the RTI commission for implementing the law on right to information in letter and spirit and said it was transparency in the government departments that could eliminate corruption and malpractices.

He said the business community would fully benefit from the law. He later presented a souvenir to the RTI Commission’s officials.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2014