RAWALPINDI: (Parliament Times) The Pakistan Information Commission has issued hearing notices to both the cantonment boards in the Rawalpindi for not sharing information with a citizen requested under the Right of Access to information act commonly known as RTI law.
According to details, in pursuance of an appeal filed by a citizen namely, Sajjad Ali, the PIC has issued hearing notice to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) and directed him to appear before the commission on November 28, 2019.
The commission has also directed the head of the said public body to produce the record/information requested by the citizen before the information commission at the time of hearing.
On another complaint, the PIC has also issued same hearing notice to the CEO Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB) and also directed him to appear before the commission on December 03, 2019.
The Right of Access to Information Act 2017 gives right to every citizen of Pakistan to get information form any federal public body, and the public body is bound to respond to the information request within ten working days after the receipt of the request.
If the public body do not respond to the information request of the citizen, he has the right to file appeal before the Pakistan Information Commission and the commission shall decide the appeal within 60 working days.
Sajjad Ali – RTI activist – maintained that the bureaucracy is following the culture of secrecy and using delaying tactics in sharing information with citizens under the RTI law. He complained that despite of repeated requests the public bodies are unwilling to share the requested information. He suggested that the Information Commission should train bureaucrats regarding the importance of information sharing with citizens. “Sharing of information shall be made part of training of bureaucrats so that to facilitate the smooth implementation of the RTI law,” he recommended.
Talking to Daily Times , Director at Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) Syed Kausar Abbas lauded the formation of the RTI law and said that now its time to ensure effective implementation of the law. “Now it’s the responsibilities of the information commissions to ensure its true implementation and facilitate the applicants.”
He applauded the performance of PIC and said that the commission is addressing the citizens’ requests despite shortage of resources and manpower. He demanded of the federal government to ensure provision of the required resources and infrastructure to the PIC so that the commission to could be able to cater to the large number of information requests.
It is pertinent to mention here that the establishment of Pakistan Information Commission was notified in November last year; however, despite the lapse of almost of one year the commission lacks resources and basic infrastructure mandatory for the smooth implementation of the law and coping with the information requests.