Javed Jab­bar stresses Ex­clu­sive Par­lia­men­tary Chan­nel

The Pak Banker - - 2national -

KARACHI: For­mer In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter Javed Jab­bar has rec­om­mended for es­tab­lish­ing an "Ex­clu­sive Par­lia­men­tary Chan­nel," in the coun­try.

"This will en­hance pub­lic ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion gen­er­ated through ques­tions posed by par­lia­men­tar­i­ans dur­ing par­lia­ment pro­ceed­ing that oth­er­wise are not nec­es­sar­ily avail­able," said one of the pi­o­neers of Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion (FOI) law.

Speak­ing at a sem­i­nar "Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion," jointly or­gan­ised by ShehriCi­ti­zens for a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment and the helpline trust, he also called for nec­es­sary re­forms in the in­sti­tu­tions.

Javed Jab­bar re­gret­ted that de­spite phe­nom­e­nal growth of in­for­ma­tion sources free­dom of ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion that may bring about mean­ing­ful changes in the so­ci­ety re­mains a far cry.

A concerned cit­i­zen and ac­tivist work­ing for the cause of pub­lic safety Naim Sadiq said ev­ery rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion about each of the govern­ment depart­ment must be read­ily avail­able on their re­spec­tive web-sites.

"This web-site in­for­ma­tion must nec­es­sar­ily in­clude de­tails of re­sources as well as funds avail­able with the depart­ment, ex­penses, pur- chases it made and con­tracts it en­tered into dur­ing the fis­cal year," he said.

He had a strong reser­va­tion about the sup­ple­ments is­sued by these de­part­ments pe­ri­od­i­cally against a hefty cost that too at pub­lic ex­pense in cur­rent phase of fi­nan­cial crunch.

"De­part­ments must give in­for­ma­tion vol­un­tar­ily," he said. As for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion leg­is­la­tion, in its truest sense, Naim Sadiq said de­mand must come from grass root level.

"Most im­por­tantly of­fi­cials un­able to pro­vide needed in­for­ma­tion must be fined cou­pled with neg­a­tive re­mark on their per­sonal files," he sug­gested.

The ac­tivist also called for or­gan­is­ing sem­i­nar on the is­sue at com­mu­nity level and en­sur­ing the needed re­forms to make it pub­lic friendly and not as a tool to in­tim­i­date the com­plainants.

Hamid Maker of The Help Line Trust (THT) held in­dif­fer­ence among the masses as the ma­jor hin­drance in im­ple­men­ta­tion of the law.

Shehri's Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, of­fered NGO's ser­vices to guide cit­i­zens hav­ing com­plaints against de­part­ments that may be deny­ing cit­i­zens' ba­sic rights. We can also re­view the com­plaints and as­sist the com­plainants, he said urg­ing that net­work­ing can help in im­prov­ing the sit­u­a­tion. -App

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