Even Info Minister Doesn’t have Access to Information

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is a country where even the information minister doesn’t have access to information of his own ministry.Senator Pervaiz Rashid, the Minister for Information, opened his heart to journalists on Monday describing how his curiosity to know the beneficiaries of secret funds was dealt with the denial of access to information.

The outcome, the minister said, was not different when he tried to facilitate an RTI requester in 2015 seeking details of the lawyers hired by the federal government and the fees paid to them from the law ministry, then headed by him.

Addressing a ceremony organised by the Coalition of Right to Information for giving RTI Champions Awards 2016, the minister also reiterated his commitment for tabling before the federal cabinet the draft RTI law that’s aimed at replacing a weak Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002.

When that will be tabled before the cabinet is what he stopped short of promising this time after failing to keep his pledge more than nine occasions in the past.  The minister’s reassurance and resolve on the bill came in his speech after Senator Farhatullah Babar pronounced his frustration through an ultimatum.

The law, drafted by the Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting, will be laid in the next session of the Upper House as a private members bill signed by all the opposition parties, he warned.

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