Lahore, Baaghi TV, (7/2/2020): Punjab Information Commission held a 2 days’ National Forum of Information Commissioners of Pakistan in Lahore.
On second day (Friday) a historic interactive panel discussion for the awareness of civil society about RTI law was held in Al Hamra Hall Lahore.
During first day of the National Forum all Information Commissions held a day long meeting on 06.02.2020 and took a review of their annual performance of respective Information Commissions, challenges faced by them and the future strategy to effectively implement of RTI law in Federal and Provinces of Pakistan.
National Forum of Information Commissions consists of all serving Information Commissioners from Federal, KP, Punjab and Sindh.
During the first day of meeting, Information commissioners pledged to continue their joint efforts for the promotion of transparent and accountable regime in Pakistan with maximum public access to information.
During first day, meeting land mark orders of Federal, Punjab and KP RTI Commissions were considered and demand was raised for the operationalization of RTI in Sindh and Balochistan as well.
Moreover, Information Commissions shared their progress and initiatives to implement RTI laws. Issues like non-allocation of funds, delay in appointment of information commissioners, lack of administrative support from government, delay in finalizing the working rules and subsequent shortage of staff, resistance in disclosing information and colonial mindset of public bodies were discussed at length.
On the 2nd day, Information Commissions had an interactive panel discussion in Al Hamra Hall Lahore attended by a massive crowd of vigilant civil society including judges, academia, lawyers and journalists.
During the interactive session, Mehboob Qadir Shah Chief Information Commissioner Punjab, Mr. Saeed Akhter Ansari Information Commissioner and Mr. Hassan Iqbal Information Commissioner, M. Azam Chief Federal Information Commissioner, Zahid Abdullah Information Commissioner, Fawad Malik Information Commissioner and KP Information Commissioner Riaz Khan Daudzai proactively responded to the questions of participants who appreciated the efforts of Commission but expressed reservation about the poor response of Govt departments by appointing PIOs in all offices and for proactive disclosure of information.
Justice Retired Ayed Afzal Haider Shah, being chief guest was decorated as a founder of first ever legislation in the shape of Freedom of Information Ordinance 1997.
On the occasion Justice ® Anwar ul Haq and Justice ® Sheikh Ahmad Farooq also highlighted the need to strengthen RTI law to achieve good governance ad participatory democracy.
Mr. Almas Jovindah Advocate played the role of moderator in an effective manner.
The session was closed with a note of thanks by Chief Information Commissioner Punjab for the participants, civil society and CPDI who supported the organizing of second meeting for National Forum of Information Commissioners.