KHAR: Speakers at a seminar here on Wednesday called for extending the Right to Information (RTI) Act to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) for ensuring good governance.

The seminar on the significance of RTI law was organised by a non-government organisation in collaboration with the Bajaur Press Club here.

Government officers and local journalists participated in the daylong session. Opening the session, Gauhar Khan, a representative of the NGO, said the session was aimed to sensitise the government officials and journalists to the importance of implementing the RTI law in the tribal areas.

According to him, his organisation had also organised such sessions in several districts of Provincial Administered Tribal Areas (Pata) and some regions of Fata. He said the act was likely to be introduced in Fata as a summary in that regard had already been sent to the president of Pakistan.

Veteran journalist Rahimullah Yousafzai briefed the participants about the significance of RTI law, saying RTI was the best way for journalists and others citizens to get any information about the public related activities of the federal and provincial governments.

He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was the first province to have legislated the law in 2013. Mr Yousafzai said the main objective of RTI law was to ensure access of citizens to information in government departments in order to create transparent and corruption-free environment in the country.

He added that though RTI commissions had also been established in other provinces, the system in KP was the best. He also briefed the participants about the working of the RTI Commission in KP and its achievements and shortcomings. According to him, a total of 10,200 applications had been submitted to the RTI Commission in KP since it was established in 2013.

Local journalists on the occasion welcomed the proposed implementation of the RTI act in the tribal areas, saying such law was imperative to get information about the public schemes launched by the government departments in the region.

They said they faced hurdles in getting required information about the ongoing development activities in the area.

Officials of several government departments and political administration, including assistant political agents Arif Khan and Anwarul Haq, also spoke on the occasion and said though they were not bound to share information to local journalists due to absence of RTI law, they claimed that they had always cooperated with the mediapersons in sharing of information about any activities.

MEDICAL CAMP: Security forces organised free medical camps in Bajaur Agency’s Mamond tehsil on Wednesday.

According to a statement, the medical camps were organised by Bajaur Scouts in various border localities of the tehsil, where about 2,500 patients were treated and provided medicines. The camps were organised on the directives of Sector Commander (north) Brig Amir Kiani and Commandant Bajaur Scouts Colonel Rahman Qadar.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2017

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