Right to Know

Civil society criticism against SIC is unjustified and unfair, says Commissioner Hullio

Sikandar Hullio is Information Commissioner at Sindh Information Commission. Native of Larkana, Hullio has served as chief executive officer (CEO) Shaheed Bhutto Foundation, Islamabad. And he is an anthologist by profession. Currently, Hullio is performing his duties as Information Commissioner at Sindh Information Commission.

The Reporters team recently arranged a telephonic discussion with Sikandar Hullio to discuss challenges and opportunities the Sindh Information Commission faced in pursuing their work and what measures it took to ensure implementation of the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2016.  

Q: What is the number of complaints received by the Commission so far and the resolve ratio?

A: The Sindh Information Commission (SIC) received a total of 195 complaints against different public bodies for not entertaining the information requests made by citizens. As many as 93 complaints were disposed of, which is 47 per cent of the total cases, and the rest are in process.   

Q:  How does the commission ensure provision of information to citizens?

A: A large number of complaints received by the Commission were filed without following the proper procedure like dispatch of a carbon copy of the information request to the Commission or filed complaints without filing an interview application to the head of the department.

The Commission disposed of such complaints but with special directions to appellants to follow the law.

There are a number of cases, in which the appellant did not follow their complaints when they were asked to file an application for internal review before filing a complaint to the commission, he maintained.

However, the Commission ensured provision of information to the appellants in dozens of complaints which were in accordance with the law.

Q: Civil society in Sindh seems concerned about the performance of the Commission. What you would say?

A: The Commission has published rules and regulations in the country’s leading newspapers and sought suggestions from the civil society, in response to the advertisement only six to seven persons submitted their suggestions, and interestingly all the suggestions were the same, even a single comma or full stop was not changed.

The civil society organizations and RTI activists should support the Commission instead of wasting energy to defame or overburden it.

Q: How many departments notified public information officers on the Commission notices?

A: More than 28 provincial departments have notified their public information officers after the directions of the Commission action and notices.

Q: Tell us about the Commission’s future strategy to enhance its online presence. 

A: The Commission’s official website is under construction and hopefully soon it will be available for citizens. However, until our website is finalized, the commission will continue it’s regular updates on its Facebook page to keep the citizens updated regarding any development.

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