Right to Information

Muhammad Abdullah

There are many rights which are given to people all over the world. As the
world is divided into developed and third world countries, likewise the rights
are manipulated by the governments. Many rights have been given to public as United
Nations has taken a great step by announcing sustainable development goals
SDG’s. And strictly put on a responsibility on the nations to work for them and
serve their peoples. As many rights have been given to public and people are
using their rights to get benefits. In the western side of the world
governments and authorities give proper rights to their public and always try
to serve them and control the law and order situation. In Pakistan where there
is a critical law and order situation with grounded economy and worst unemployment
still the provincial assemblies have managed to pass a bill of information by
the name “Right to Information” this bill was presented in every
province of Pakistan including the federal government but somehow federal
government and Baluchistan province has very weak law regarding right to
information.

In province Sindh the bill was passed in 2016, which later become the law by
the name “Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act 2016”. In
2018 the information commission was also established consisted of one Chief
Information Commissioner and two Information Commissioners. In every public and
government office whether it is of any department which comes under government
the authorities are answerable to any queries public makes, basically this law
benefits each and every citizen of Pakistan to question any public and
government department, and they are bound to answer and entertain the public on
their query. To attend the public query Sindh government along with Punjab and Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa government has given an additional charge of information officer in
every government office, whether it is public works department or municipal department
or even agricultural department and information officer is bound to answer a
query within 15 days.

This law also secures the public from personal misbehavior from any
government officials. Authorities have no right to ask a person why he wants to
know about anything they just have to collect the regarding information and
handover to the person asking for information. As the authorities and officials
are bound not to ask questions in return, the public is also bound not to ask
for the information regarding security agencies or law enforcement agencies
plan of work, nature of work or the strategies they have made for the countries
security. But they can get only selected information which is harmless or
secure for the public and nations security.

As RTI has been made two years back and it is fully functional and
implemented, unfortunately people are not aware to use this law. They actually
do not have any idea how useful this law is not for them but for the betterment
of this country. They can question their authorities about the budget they use
for making a road or planting a street light. If the government officials gets
the question they will also start doing correction in their duties and will work
corruption free. Because the answers people will get from the offices they can
use those answers as proof of corruption against them.

Right to Information is a strong tool for the people of Pakistan to come
forward and use RTI to make Pakistan stronger and corruption-free state. Our youth
can take initiative to raise the voice for RTI and start questioning the
authorities how they are working, and how much they spend the money they are
getting in terms of budget. Here is one thing which every Pakistani should
remember always that the government is using your money to facilitate you! It is
you who are paying taxes by which they are getting their salaries every month. It
is you who have to raise the voice and ask them how they are working.

 

 

 

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