Sindh assembly, a parliament of most southern province of Pakistan had passed the law “Transparency and right to information Act, 2016”, (TRTI) objective to give free access for information to every citizen in province. Government of Sindh pledged in the draft of bill that after formal assent by governor of Sindh, the act would be enforced at once throughout the province. Around 300 hundred days have passed; the act has yet to be implemented.
Government of Sindh led by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) failed to enforce the law “Transparency and right to information Act, 2016” passed by Sindh assembly unanimously during the day proceeding of parliament on12 March, 2017. According to “Transparency and right to information Act, 2016”Government will form Commission after assent of Governor of Sindh.
Sindh Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro presented bill on March 12, 2017 promising the parliament, that law will be immediately enforced. The draft of the bill “Transparency and right to information, 2016” laid in assembly, carried the printed promise over the first leaf of the draft stating its immediate enforcement.
According to the law, any citizen, in writing, can seek information from any government or private institution in the province. Authorities are bound to provide information under “Transparency and right to information Act, 2016” after receiving application within the period of 15 to 30 days.
Sindh Information Commission (SIC) will be constituted to keep a vigil over the implement of the “Transparency and right to information, 2016” to provide information to the general public. The Commission will be comprised mainly of three-member including Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and two others, law said. The Commission has the right to take action against officer who fails to provide information within prescribed time frame.
Zubair Ahmed governor of Sindh assents the law less than 30 thirty days, on 9th April 2017.
Despite this, the law is yet to be enforced even after the passage of 300 days; the government has not been able to establish the Commission in the province.
Three hundred days have been passed, and nobody knows when the government of Sindh will establish the Commission regarding “Transparency and right to information Act, 2016” in Sindh. Government of Sindh has failed fulfill promise to enforce the TRTI Act, 2016” so far, said a senior journalist and correspondent of BBC Urdu Riaz Suhail Sangi.
Nand Kumar a parliamentary leader of Pakistan Muslim League Functional in provincial legislative assembly slammed the delay to enforce the “Transparency and right to information Act, 2016”. He said that TRTI Act provide access to every person, particularly it is very important for the media personnel, who unearth the hidden misappropriation of the government.
He said government deliberately avoids enforcing the act because of their poor delivery towards its public what they have promised in general election, 2013. Nand said provincial government has worst performance in governance that’s why they are not enforcing the act. If public and media person get access, their malpractices will be public, he said.
He promised that delaying the enforcement of act will be raised in parliament.
Muhammad Tariq Mansoor, advocate, social and human rights activist knocked the door of ‘Sindh High Court’ in person as a citizen versus provincial government.
He prayed the provincial apex court that PPP led government is disrespecting the provincial assembly by ignoring the implementation of act, which is prime elected body by public of Sindh.
Tariq said, that it is responsibility of provincial authority to enforce the law, passed by assembly. He explained that government has the right of preparation regarding the enforcement of act but it should not be more than 100 days.
Mansoor said more than 300 days have passed since the act was approved yet no signs are visible for implementation. In the absence of Sindh Information Commission, public has no other option to register their complaints, if authorities fail to share information, he said.
Journalists’ community is affected more than others, said petitioner.
Tariq said that he has file the petition six month ago in court; no any reply has been filed as yet by the representative of concerned authorities. This attitude showed that authorities are not serious to enforce the law and they are ignoring it deliberately. The law officer, who represents the government of Sindh, plays delaying tactics in the court, without any sufficient reason, said Mansoor.
In response to Truth Tracker the Minister for Information Sindh Nasir Hussain Shah, said that government is not ignoring enforcement of the act nor using any delay tact in connection with the Law, adding that his ministry respects parliament more than others.
He said that government has series of acts to implement in province. Authorities are working over the implementation, said Minister for Information Sindh.
Before, the announcement of the Sindh Information Commission, concerned department will design the rules of act, the process is underway, and that media person and people will soon receive the enforced TRTI Law, claimed Nasir.
A political commentator and former president of Karachi Press Club Khursheed Ahmed Abassi said that the implementation of the Law is the sole responsibility of the concerned department of the province. This failure proves that Government is avoiding enforcement the law, he said.
He said that it is the prime responsibility of the principle officer of the department and the concerned minister. They should look into the matter. The bureaucracy has a vital role in this connection. It is the failure of the government and disrespect of the assembly, Khursheed said.
He said there is vested interest of some segments that get benefits in the absence of law. They hinder the process of the implementation of the law.
Government of Sindh led by Pakistan People’s Party has not exerted enough efforts to implement “Transparency and right to information Act, 2016” in the province. No concrete reason was given for the failure to implement the law. So the promise stands compromised.