Replace Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005 with a Robust Right to Information Law: CPDI

ISLAMABAD: CPDI demands the provincial government of Balochistan to replace ineffective Freedom of Information Ordinance 2005 with a robust Right to information law. This is crucial in light of Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan where the right to information is recognized as a fundamental human right. Public bodies of Balochistan are reluctant to share information and citizens of Balochistan are deprived of their fundamental human right to know.
Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005 is an ineffective law as it allows citizens and journalists to access limited public information from selective departments. Although, earlier this year, the provincial cabinet formed a committee to review the proposed amendments in the existing Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005, yet no practical steps have been taken.
Read also: Ineffective RTI Law of Balochistan
Khalid Hussain, the Provincial Coordinator of CPDI, remarked that the Government of Balochistan needs to make amendments in the existing act to ensure that citizens’ right to access information of public bodies is protected and served. He added the scope of the law is restricted, information requesting procedure is difficult and costly, and the list of exempted information is also broad. Most importantly, there is no independent appellate forum like Information Commissions in KP, Sindh, Punjab, and Federal.
CPDI prepared a model Right to Information (RTI) bill and shared with the legislators and Chief Minister Balochistan, but no action is taken since there is no political will to promote openness and transparency through RTI in the province.
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