Pakistan Today: Karachi: Wednesday, March 15, 2017.
Following KP and Punjab, the Sindh Assembly unanimously passed the long-awaited Sindh Transparency & Right to Information Bill 2016 veaving Balochistan as the only federating unit without the legislation.
The bill aims at ensuring access of every citizen to information under the control of public authorities and also forming a Sindh Information Commission for dealing with its matters.
The commission will consist of three members: the chief information commissioner and two others.
The head of the commission will be a retired government official; not below BPS-20 and would be appointed for a tenure of three years. Two other members would include a lawyer, with some prior experience in the higher courts, while the other member shall be a representative of the civil society, having an experience in the field of academia and the concerned subjects. The commission will reserve the right to take action against any officer who fails to deliver the information sought. Failure in delivering the required information can result in a penalty of Rs1 million or as high as 10 percent of their basic salaries.
The report of the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Bill, 2016, was presented in the house by chairman of the 10-member committee, Senior Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmad Khuhro.
The bill which will become an act with its assent by the governor will repeal The Sindh Freedom of Information Act 2006. The act will provide every citizen transparency and access to information under Article 19-A of the Constitution in all matters of public importance, which are essential principles of democracy. This will not only enable the populace to hold the government and its institutions accountable but also help in improving the system of governance.
Speaking on the occasion, Nisar Khuhro termed the passage of the bill as a historical event, and said that earlier accusations of bad governance, corruption and lack of implementation on rules were hurled, but this bill would enable the common citizen to have access to government affairs.
Khuhro said the bill was adopted to hold the government and governmental bodies accountable, adding that the legislation had empowered ordinary citizens by giving them access to public information instead of empowering institutions.