Call for introducing RTI law in AJK

MUZAFFARABAD:  While most provinces and regions of Pakistan have enacted right to information laws, Azad Jammu and Kashmir is among the few regions which have yet to introduce such a law.

In this regard, the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) conducted the first-ever introductory session on the need and significance of the right to information (RTI) laws for government officials and media of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

While presiding over the session, Secretary Information Mansoor Qadir Dar appreciated the initiative to enhance the capacity of officials and journalists. 

He added that there was no standard operating procedure in AJK for a citizen to get information from government departments. However, he urged all to work together to devise a legislation on RTI in AJK.

AJK Law Department Section officer Muhammad Nawaz stated that their department has drafted a bill on RTI which has been pending before the Parliament for years but has not received any attention from lawmakers.

During the session, participants were briefed about their constitutional right to know what the government was doing while the importance of enacting an RTI law in AJK was crucial for ensuring the transparent working of government departments.

AJK DGPR Raja Azhar Iqbal proposed holding a series of sessions to get the RTI legislation off the ground.

“Like other regions of Pakistan, AJK should also enact RTI law to promote a culture of public participation in government affairs. The government of AJK should prioritise the legislation on RTI to protect citizen’s fundamental right to know,” stressed CPDI Executive Director Amer Ejaz.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2017.

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