ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party Senator Farhatullah Babar said the Senate must send a strong signal that it demands across the board accountability and rejects the notion of sacred cows.
Taking part in the discussion during the Senate session on Tuesday, Babar said that the slogan of accountability will sound hollow without across the board accountability of every one by rejecting the notion of ‘holy cows’ whether in the security establishment or in the judiciary and without an effective Right to Information (RTI) law.
He said “as long as the sacred cows syndrome persists, accountability will remain a pipe dream”. “The notion of some institutions carrying out accountability through internal mechanisms was a myth the fallacy of which has been more than exposed,” he added.
He said that the RTI law has been finalised by the Senate committee on information nearly 18 months ago and the government had even agreed to own it as government bill but since then it has been waiting cabinet’s approval for presenting it before the Parliament.
Babar said that every time the information committee met the information minister promised that the bill will be placed before the cabinet at its next meeting.
“A promise that has not been kept even when the cabinet has met for more than 15 times since the minister first made the promise,” he maintained.
The PPP Senator went on to say that, “When the Senate committee started its work on the draft nearly three years ago and sought views of relevant stakeholders, the defence ministry refused to give its input saying it was a sensitive matter which should be kept on hold till it issued NOC for the purpose.”
Farhatullah Babar wondered if the RTI law had been withheld for the past 18 months because of the objections of the defence establishment.
“Without RTI law there can be no transparency and without transparency there can no genuine accountability,” he concluded.