PESHAWAR: Commissioner of the Punjab Information Commission, Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, has termed the KP RTI Commission as one of the best functioning commissions in the country, saying that other provinces can learn a lot from it to ensure transparency and accountability.He was speaking at a seminar titled “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right
By our correspondents
January 02, 2015
PESHAWAR: Commissioner of the Punjab Information Commission, Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, has termed the KP RTI Commission as one of the best functioning commissions in the country, saying that other provinces can learn a lot from it to ensure transparency and accountability. He was speaking at a seminar titled “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013: Challenges, Opportunities and Way Forward”. The seminar was organised jointly by the KP RTI Commission and Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA) on Thursday. Hailing the progress made by the KP RTI Commission, he said: “The RTI Commission in KP has shown tremendous progress in a short time by providing training to more than 500 public information officers (PIOs) and entertaining around 300 complaints.” Lamenting the state-of-affairs that the Punjab Information Commission faced, he said the commission faced gigantic issues, including the non-availability of proper office and staff. However, he was optimistic to overcome the issue within a few months. KP RTI Commission’s Chief Information Commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Khalid, Commissioner Abdul Matin, Commissioner Prof Kalimullah, CGPA Executive Director Muhammad Anwar, Member Provincial Assembly KP Assembly Ziaullah Bangash and Syed Jafar Shah, members of civil society and NGOs and social activists attended the seminar. Speaking on the occasion, Sahibzada Khalid highlighted the role of PIOs and urged them to fully own the law as no delay in provision of information under the KP RTI Act would be tolerated. He urged PIOs to comply with what they learnt during the training sessions organised for them under the law and place a signboard in their respective offices to facilitate easy access of the public. RTI Commissioner Prof Kalimullah said that frequent posting and transfer of PIOs was an issue. He said it could create problems for the commission for better communication with them and was also a problem for their respective departments and public that could result in delay beyond the time limit that the RTI Law has specified to address a citizen’s request. “An element of motivation in the shape of certain perks and privileges for PIOs should be there for vibrant RTI regime in the region,” he added.RTI Commissioner Abdul Matin said: “It’s none of the business of any public body to decide, which information is exempted and which one should be shared under the RTI request by a citizen,” adding that it was only the KP RTI Commission to take decision on such matters. He also said that in the initial stage of the implementation of the law, the commission was facing some challenges from various government departments. These departments, he said, were accustomed to official secrecy by turning to bureaucratic tactics to halt providing the information sought. But the commission was resolute in implementing the law in letter and spirit.