ISLAMABAD, August 10, 2017: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has urged the Provincial Government of Sindh to establish the Sindh Information Commission at the earliest as four months have lapsed since the enactment of the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act 2016.
FAFEN, in a statement released on Thursday, stated that under Section 12 (1) of the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act 2016, the provincial government was bound to establish the Sindh Information Commission within 100 days of the commencement of the Act. How can citizens exercise their constitutional right of access to information held by public bodies when the provincial government has failed to establish the Sindh Information Commission entrusted to ensure implementation of the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act?
The statement further called upon the Sindh Government to appoint, after due process, well reputed individuals as Information Commissioners in line with the criteria mentioned in the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act 2016. It is the right of citizens to know about the performance of their elected representatives by seeking certified information from provincial public bodies on the topic and timing of their own choosing so that they could make informed choices in the upcoming general election.
The significance of the Sindh Information Commission in ensuring citizens right of access to information can be gauged from the fact that discharging its duties as an appellate body in deciding complaints lodged by citizens against officials for not providing access to the requested information is one set of tasks out of some other extremely important ones. These include but not limited to: creating mass awareness by publicizing rights of citizens under Sindh right to information law, imparting training to officials on their roles and responsibilities under Sindh information law, reforming anti-information legal regime by preparing recommendations for the Sindh Government, developing monitoring mechanism to ensure public bodies adhere to the provisions of Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act 2016, and ensuring proactive disclosure of information by Sindh public bodies.
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