The News International: Islamabad: Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
It has been a long-standing demand of civil society groups and journalists that the Sindh Freedom of Information Act 2006 should be repealed, as it has proven to be largely ineffective in helping citizens exercise their constitutional right of access to information held by Sindh public bodies.
It is a welcome development that the Sindh government has finally repealed the Sindh Freedom of Information Act 2006 and enacted Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Bill 2016 into a law.
The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, (CPDI) urges Sindh government to take immediate steps to operationalize provisions of Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act. As reported in the media, the newly enacted Right to Information Law envisages the establishment to ensure its implementation.
In this connection, the CPDI urges the Sindh government to establish Sindh Information Commission which has administrative as well as budgetary autonomy with enough funds to carry out its functions as mentioned in the law.
Furthermore, the Sindh government should constitute a Search Committee to find qualified and well-reputed persons to be appointed as information commissioners to ensure implementation of the newly enacted Sindh right to information law.
Enactment of a right to information law is but one step in ensuring citizens access to information held by public bodies. The Sindh RTI law will only be beneficial if the Sindh government establishes Sindh Information Commission without delay and provides continued support to the commission in carrying out its obligations i.e. developing transparency standards for public bodies, timely disposal of complaints, ensuring proactive disclosure of information, developing schedule of fees, creating mass awareness about rights of people under the law, compiling guidelines for and imparting trainings to Public Information Officers (PIOs), developing monitoring mechanism to monitor and report on the compliance by public bodies, publishing its annual report and framing rules and regulations.