PPP Calls for Adoption of Right to Information Bill

7 May 2015

The Pakistan People’s Party has called for adoption of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill, an appeal welcomed by a key advocacy group, though it noted that the PPP didn’t push through an RTI bill when it was in power.

In recent times, an RTI bill was adopted by a Senate standing committee but it has not advanced further.

PPP co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari said, “The fact that the RTI legislation had been finalised by the Senate committee almost a year ago but the government, despite promises, has not tabled it in parliament raises serious questions about the intent and motives of the government.”

Zardari also sought better protections for the media, according to an article in Dawn.

In reaction, the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) said it was “pleasantly surprised” by statement, adding that “our perception about politicians suffering from selective amnesia further reinforced.”

It commented that Zardari had not criticized efforts to reduce transparency in the province of Sindh. Critics have charged that the pending Sindh Freedom of Information Bill 2014 runs contradictory to the Constitution’s Article 19 (A) that ensures citizens’ right to know the government’s affairs, according to an March 29 article in The Business Recorder

CDPI also said that the PPP left a “not-so-flattering trail of broken promises pertaining to legislation on right to information.”

Currently controversial in Pakistan is a proposed cyber-crime bill that critics, such as Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and its partner, Freedom Network, “undermines civil liberties in Pakistan and flouts freedom of the media and information.”

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