Committee report on Right to Information Bill placed in Senate

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ISLAMABAD, March 16 (APP): Chairman of Senate Select Committee on
Right to Information Bill, Farhatullah Babar, on Thursday submitted recommendations of the committee in the Upper House of the Parliament.
The bill was first introduced to the House by Kamil Ali Agha as a private member bill. Since the government had also submitted its own
bill to the House, both the bills were sent to the select committee
for consideration.
Submitting the committee’s report to the House, Farhatullah Babar
said on achievement of the consensus, the committee had decided that
the private member’s bill be withdrawn and the bill titled ‘Right of
Access to Information Bill 2016’ as finalized by it be placed before
the Parliament by the government and get it passed.
He said the committee had held detailed deliberations on the bill
and came out with a strong notion that the right to information was basic right of every Pakistani that could not be denied and anybody obstructing flow of information must be liable to legal proceedings.
Babar said it was very common that the government functionaries, especially the civil servants, often deny information to people in the
name of national security and supreme national interest. “Therefore, we
have tried to settle this issue by incorporating certain provisions in
the law.”
He said nobody could be granted blanker immunity in the name of
national interest and if any matter would relate to national security,
the officer concerned would have to reply to the applicant in writing.
He said another provision had been suggested providing that anyone,
who would willfully obstruct implementation of this act, would be
committing a criminal offence, punishable with imprisonment for a term
not exceeding two years or with a fine of up to Rs 100,000 or with both.
The senator appreciated Minister of State for Information,
Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurengzeb, the committee
members and the staff for their continued cooperation and support to formulate recommendations on the bill.
After the report was laid to the House, Kamil Ali Agha as per
decision of the committee withdrew his private member bill.