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February 2, 2013 - Comments Off on DRF Joins Hands with Punjab Government and 16 Civil Society Organisations to Enact Right to Information Law

DRF Joins Hands with Punjab Government and 16 Civil Society Organisations to Enact Right to Information Law

Coalition for Right to Information (CRTI) is working towards the enactment of said law in Pakistan following the international best practises of right to information legislations and implementation of existing information laws.

Punjab province despite being the biggest in Pakistan lacks any proper laws to provide easy access of information to its citizens. Though the tenure of current provincial government is coming to an end but during the previous four years the provincial govenment could only manage to present a draft bill on right to information laws.

Digital Rights Foundation has also joined hands with CRTI in an attempt to put forward specific recommendations aimed at improving the draft bill prepared by Punjab Government. The participants of the conference held at Lahore on January 30th, 2013 unanimously passed ‘CRTI Lahore Declaration’ urging Punjab government to enact law on right to information on priority basis.

The coalition has recommended that the law cannot be restricted only to "citizens of Punjab", as is suggested in the draft bill. Right to Information is a fundamental right of every Pakistani national and should be implemented all over the country rather than one province. CRTI also welcomes the establishment of Punjab Information Commission to have a strong, focused and effective commission to achieve the objectives.

Being a democratic country, citizens of Pakistan have all the right to know how government uses the powers and resources at its disposal. CRTI strongly opposed any exclusion of documents and information relating to internal working from the public sphere which is clearly an unreasonable restriction and is, therefore, in contravention of Article 19-A of the Constituion. Doing so would negate peoples’ right in this regard and, hence, will undermine their ability to oversee and make suggestions for increasing efficiency or improving performance.

The press release can be accessed here.