Call to strengthen Punjab RTI Act 2013

By Our Correspondent
May 29, 2024
This image shows the logo of the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI). — APP/File

LAHORE:The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) organised a crucial session to discuss and review the Punjab Right to Information (RTI) Act 2013.


The event brought together key stakeholders and experts to provide insights and recommendations aimed at fortifying the Act, with a primary focus on enhancing transparency and accountability in governance. The session commenced with an opening address by Mukhtar Ahmed Ali, Executive Director CPDI. He emphasised the critical recommendations that should be incorporated into the Punjab RTI Act 2013 to enhance its effectiveness and reach, thereby ensuring better governance. He highlighted the need for robust legislative measures to guarantee the right to information for all citizens, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability.

Ahmed Iqbal, MPA, pledged his unwavering support for initiatives aimed at improving transparency and accountability through the RTI Act, underscoring the importance of such reforms in strengthening democratic processes. The session featured an in-depth review of CPDI's recommendations by Mehboob Qadir Shah, former Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of Punjab. He highlighted key areas for improvement and offered practical solutions to address existing challenges. Zahid Abdullah, RTI Adviser to CPDI, presented a detailed analysis of specific areas such as the definition of public bodies and the tenure of Commissioners. He stressed the necessity for clear and precise legislation to avoid ambiguities and ensure the smooth functioning of the RTI framework. Advocate Shahid Baghoor suggested empowering sessions courts at the district level to hear complaints from applicants. Iram Shahzadi, Law Officer at Home Department, emphasised the importance of not only improving the law but also ensuring its strict implementation.

Advocate Asad Jamal shared his opinions on various aspects of CPDI's recommendations, contributing to a broader understanding of the issues at hand. Advocate Imran Javed Qureshi recommended reducing the period for providing information, suggesting that quicker access to information would significantly benefit the general public. He argued that timely dissemination of information is vital for fostering transparency and accountability.

Nauman Nazir, Assistant Director Punjab Information Commission (PIC), provided his perspective on enhancing the RTI Act. The session was marked by active engagement from various participants who offered their views and feedback on CPDI's recommendations.