Experts ask for effective enforcement of RTI law in tribal districts

Iftikhar Khan

PESHAWAR: Senior lawyer on Thursday stressed proper efforts to create more awareness about the RTI law among the people of tribal districts. They should be informed what the law is and how it serves to protect the interest of the public in the most efficient manner?

While talking to TNN during the panel discussion Ijaz Khan Mohmand advocate and senior journalist Aziz Khan Buneri said that the RTI law protects all those rights of an individual which has been provided in the constitution of the country.

He expressed that this law has been made for the welfare of the people and hoped that it will serve the tribal people in a better position, who have been kept deprived since the creation of Pakistan.

Aziz Buneri said that after the extension of the law to tribal districts, it is now must that every government office in tribal districts should appoint public information officer, where citizens can register for information.

Talking about the RTI law, Buneri said that every citizen can write the requisite information on plain paper and can submit it to the RTI officers in the concerned department. He added that if any department fails to provide the information within 10 days of time, he can file a written complaint with the Public Information Officer (PIO).

Ijaz Mohmand on this occasion said that after the abolishment of article 247 through 25th constitutional amendment, all the laws and acts enforced in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were automatically extended to tribal districts. Mohmand added that now there is a need that all such laws, including the right to information, should be implemented in real sense by the government.

Buneri also expressed agreement with Mohmand and said that public can be benefited from the law, only if it is properly implemented and people are made aware of it. However, he said that there are also some loopholes in the law; for example, the commissioner has no authority to grant punishment to officers who are not providing information.

Aziz Buneri added that all the offices – Police, education, public health, and projects that are running on government funds fall under the jurisdiction of RTI act. He added that if a person feels that the appointments made in any government department are not based on merit, he can file an application for information under RTI act.