KARACHI: Chief Information Commissioner of the Pakistan Information Commission Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui has underlined the need for awareness regarding the law of right to information (RTI).

Delivering an awareness lecture organised by the Karachi Press Club on its premises, he said that easy access to the information in citizens’ life largely contributed to good governance.

He said that the efforts were being made for the implementation of law to activate the mechanism of transparency and accountability in the country.

He said that retrieving information from a public office had been made easy for citizens who could apply for the information from a public body. “The information has to be given to the applicant within 10 days,” adding that 10 additional days might be taken by the authority concerned depending on the nature of the information.

Mr Siddiqui said that the applicants could file an appeal or complaint if they were denied the information they had sought from the Pakistan Information Commission, which was bound to dispose of the matter within 60 days.

He said that it was very important to create awareness about the right to information among the people as it would help eradicate corruption in the government bodies. “The public officials would be conscious that their deeds and decisions would be public,” he added.

The CIC said that the PIC was a powerful body having powers of civil court as it could call for evidence and impose fines on the officials who denied information to citizens.

PIC chairman Dr Ijaz Hasan Awan said that all the federal ministries had been instructed to update information on their websites.

He said that the commission had so far received 2,907 applications against the public officials for denying the information they had sought.

Mr Awan said 1,391 applications had been decided, while 1,516 were pending disposal.

He said as many as four federal secretaries had been issued show-cause notices for not providing information to the applicants.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2023

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