ISLAMABAD: A civil society organisation has written to the Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar to get Pakistan’s membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) restored.

In the letter, Executive Director Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) Mukhtar Ahmad Ali expressed concerns regarding the revocation of Pakistan’s OGP membership due to the government’s failure to submit its National Action Plan (NAP) within the given deadline.

“As a civil society organisation that advocates for transparency and accountability in the government sector, CPDI considers OGP an essential platform for highlighting reforms that can open public sector institutions for greater public participation and accountability,” letter stated.

The letter acknowledges the positive steps taken during Ishaq Dar’s previous tenure as Finance Minister such as joining the OGP in 2016 and publishing the tax directory of elected representatives to promote transparency and accountability in the country.

However, the revocation of Pakistan’s OGP membership last year means that all the efforts made towards making the functioning of the government in Pakistan transparent and accountable are not getting adequate visibility and acknowledgment at the international forum.

“We urge the government to take immediate action to restore Pakistan’s membership in the OGP and ensure that the NAP is finalized and implemented as soon as possible,” said Mukhtar.

In 2011, government leaders and civil society advocates came together to create a unique partnership—one that combines these powerful forces to promote transparent, participatory, inclusive and accountable governance. The OGP includes 75 countries and 106 local governments – representing more than 2 billion people – and thousands of civil society organisations.

To join OGP, which has secretariat in the United States, members must meet eligibility criteria, identify a lead ministry and commit to creating action plans, containing concrete reforms – in consultation with the civil society.

The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) tracks the progress of OGP members, providing public accountability on the implementation of commitments. Monitoring progress promotes strong accountability between member governments and citizens.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2023

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