Senate’s select committee at its meeting chaired by Senator Farhatullah Babar unanimously passed a bill yesterday seeking to codify citizens’ right to information. The RTI passed by the Senate committee seeks to ensure that information on missing persons is provided in writing by the relevant institution within three days of a request for information being filed.
The bill if passed by the parliament will replace the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002. The bill recognizes citizens’ right to know under the Constitution and to have access to information about the activities of the government.
The opposition in the Senate has brought the bill after getting frustrated by the inordinate delay by the government in bringing its RTI act before the parliament. It is worth mentioning that the federal cabinet has also approved its own right to information bill and the bill is likely to be tabled before the national assembly soon.
The fate of the bill passed by the Senate committee is expected to meet the same fate like that on the Panama papers.
According to experts, the bill will sail through easily from the upper house where the opposition has the strength but it will be rejected by the National Assembly.
However, it is expected that the government will now table its own bill in the National Assembly soon to avoid criticism from the opposition.