ISLAMABAD (The Reporters, December 15, 2022): Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) on Thursday urged the federal government to immediately appoint the information commissioners of the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) as dysfunctional commission cannot perform its duties.
In a letter written to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, and Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, Executive Director of CPDI, said that PIC got dysfunctional after retirement of its the first batch of information commissioners on November 17, 2022.
Mr. Mukhtar Ahmad demanded the process for the appointment of a new Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners be completed without any further delay in order to meet the mandatory legal requirement under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017
He added that the appointment of a new Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners should be made on the basis of merit, while keeping in view the integrity and commitment of nominees for the cause of peoples’ fundamental right to information and its effective implementation, preferably in consultation with the civil society organizations, which have been spearheading the cause of peoples’ right to information, he further added.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Government of PML (N) that had enacted the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 which, despite its certain flaws, has made considerable positive impact in promoting transparency in governance.
Mr. Ali stated that while PML (N) has rightly claimed credit in its manifesto for the enactment of the Act but implementation remained challenging. He also stated that the PLM (N) promise in the manifesto 2018-23 to ensure political, fair and transparent accountability.
He urged the government to ensure implementation of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017 and make Pakistan Information Commission functional by appointing persons of integrity and relevant experience without further delay.
Pakistan Information Commission is an autonomous body established under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017. The prime responsibility of the PIC is to receive and decide on appeals under section 17 of the Act. Moreover, the commission also has power to summon the officers of the federal government to enforce the Act.