PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission (KPIC) has appointed a female staffer to guide and motivate women practicing the right to information law in the province.
Tayyaba Jamil is working as assistant at the facilitation desk of the Commission.
Ms Jamil is responsible to provide guidelines to female complainants regarding their complaints against public bodies.
While talking with The Reporters, Ms Jamil said earlier women, in the province, were hesitant in practicing the right to information law due to various push and pull factors, hoping that her presence in the Commission will build confidence in females in this regard.
Sharing her experience, Ms Jamil said the ratio of female callers in the Commission was only 1 per cent when she joined the Commission, adding that the response of females is getting improved now.
The newly appointed assistant further said women particularly belonging to merged districts of the province [former FATA] were feeling uncomfortable talking to male staffers or could not explain their problems. Now when they call the Commission regarding any information about the RTI law they comfortably talk to her.
Ms Jamil maintained that she also attends seminars organized by the Commission about creating awareness in public offices and other institutions.
Naheed Jehangir, journalist from a merged district, said the RTI law is a power tool for every citizen, particularly female journalists, to use it for their reporting purpose.
By practicing this law, female journalists can avail their desired information from any government department without visiting their office, Ms Jehangir maintained.
“I have filed multiple information requests to different provincial departments so far and have also received timely responses to many of her applications,” she maintained.
Khalida Niaz, a female journalist based in Peshawar, said that she has been using the RTI law for her stories, adding that “it is a powerful tool for journalists, particularly reporting investigative stories”.
Not only journalists but students, government officials, and sports players of the merged districts are practicing the right to information law to avail certified information from public bodies, Ms Niaz added.
Jamaima Afridi, sportsperson belonging to former-FATA, says earlier it was the privilege of the elected representative to ask questions from the government departments, but now the people of merged districts of KP can make public bodies accountable by using the RTI law.
Ms Afridi maintained that she has used this law to avail information regarding sports activities and funds received by the concerned bodies. The badminton champion was happy that she was able to get the requested information within 10 days.
Ms Afridi added this is unfortunate that women in the province, particularly of merged districts, are not much aware about the importance of this law.
She was of the view that the provincial government, civil society organizations, media, and RTI commission should play its due role to raise awareness among women in ignored regions regarding the real spirit of the law and its importance for the provincial development.
Meanwhile, the Commission has received 35 complaints from women during last year, which is only 5 percent of the total complaints received by the Commission