Pakistani Committee OKs Freedom of Information Bill

30 August 2013

A Senate committee in Pakistan has approved a freedom of information bill.

The Senate Committee on Information and Broadcasting approved the bill on Aug. 28 after eight months of deliberations.

Committee chairman Kamil Ali Agha is expected to propose it in the Senate as a multi-party bill.

The committee rejected a request from the defense ministry for a requirement that it approve releases, several media sources reported. The bill is said to be modeled in the Indian Right to Information Act. See Zee News and Dawn.

“Each and every government department comes under the ambit of the bill and they will have to provide all kinds of information to people,” Agha was quoted as saying. “Even appointments of officials and their perks and privileges will be placed on the website,” he said.

Under the law, government officials will have to provide requested information within 20 days.

The draft law was prepared by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and recommended by a sub-committee headed by Farhatullah Babar.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rasheed said the Cabinet should approve the bill before tabling it in the Parliament, but the committee decided it should be moved by the committee chairman, according to a report by the Associated Press of Pakistan.

“Later the government will own the bill and present it in the cabinet for approval,” according to the report.

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