PESHAWAR: In April, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has directed all the government departments, in tribal districts, to appoint the Public Information Officers (PIOs) to receive applications from public for information under the KP right to information act.
Under this law, a common man can register an application to get access to information about the government’s jobs, contracts, and development funds allocations. According to experts, in any democratic society, RTI law has high importance to keep government officials responsible to the people.
Sadaat Khan, information officer of right to information commission in Peshawar, told TNN that with the implementation of this law, the system governance system will completely be changed in tribal districts. Khan furthered that the law is already implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where it has a positive impact on the governance.
The people of tribal areas have expressed satisfaction and expressed that hope that its proper implementation will be helpful in bringing a real change and progress in the most backward areas that were kept ignored since the creation of the country.
An elder from Kurram, Parachinar Haji Rauf Tori said that in tribal areas government and the political administration had kept all the information secret from the public, but now with the implementation of this law, they will be unable to keep the tribal people in dark.
“The attitude of the government officers will also change now, because, now they cannot rule the tribal areas like authoritarian kings,” said Haji Rauf. Under the Frontier crime regulations, the political administration has ruled like kings, they were not responsible to the public. Experts believe the RTI will make the entire government officials responsible to the public.
A resident of North Waziristan, Anwar Khan while talking to TNN expressed the hope that the law will bring transparency and merit system. “Now candidates cannot be kept in dark regarding the appointment process. They can file an application for information regarding appointments and the officials are bound to provide it.” In the same manner, he added, admissions will also be awarded on the bases of merit in all educational institutions.
A journalist from Khyber district, Khadim Khan Afridi said that law will also ensure transparency in the allocation of funds for developmental activities. He added that it will also improve the quality of work as the common man will keep a check on the contractors and government authorities. The journalist also said that now they will also be able to get exclusive information to develop news stories that were not possible in the past.
Khalid Khan, A member of Orakzai Youth organization, however, said that to reap full benefits of this law, it is important that awareness is created among the tribal people. Khan asked the government to start an awareness drive to make the tribal people aware of the importance of this law in the protection of their rights.