CSOs Provincial Coordination Meeting for Enhanced Awareness and Implementation of Right to Information Laws in Sindh

Date: 27 May 2021

Venue: Sukkur City, District Sukkur

Summary: Transparency International Pakistan has successfully conducted a CSOs Provincial Coordination Meeting for Enhanced Awareness and Implementation of Right to Information Laws in Sindh.

The meeting which was attended by 30 participants including 14 females and 16 males was organized in district Sukkur in collaboration with NARI Foundation. The participants included, Secretary Local Government Union Council, Media representatives, Students, Health workers and representatives from the following CSOs: Voice of New Generation, Lab-e-Mehran Development Organization, Human Rights Protection Unity Foundation, Women Protection Forum, Al Mehran Social Welfare Association, The Change Social Welfare Organization and Servary Social Welfare Association.

The objective of the meeting was to discuss the current situation of RTI law in the province and to coordinate with civil society organizations on how to play an enhanced role for the effective implementation of the law.

The meeting was started at 11.00 AM with the recitation of the holy Quran. Thereafter, participants introduced themselves and their organizations and their working areas. Then, Mr. Anwar from NARI foundation started the session by introducing Transparency International Pakistan’s anti-corruption work and its role in the enactment of RTI laws in Sindh and Pakistan. TI Pakistan was an important member of the civil society coalition that worked for the RTI laws in Sindh. The participants were informed on how rigorous RTI laws empower citizens to get public information and hold the public bodies accountable. This includes transparency in public departments which can help in curbing corruption and save tax payers money.

Participants discussed the role of Public Information Officers and Information Commission, and the procedure of getting information according to the law. It was also discussed that in the instances where the information is not given, how the citizens can proceed with their complaints to Information Commission. In the end, the participants also wrote RTI applications to various public bodies including Commissioner Sukkur, Deputy Commissioner Sukkur, Education Department, Municipal Corporation, Public Health Engineering, and Administrator Sukkur. In total 25 RTI requests were filed by the citizens and sent to the relevant departments to seek information under the RTI law.

A Q&A session was held at the end of the workshop. Participants asked various questions regarding the RTI laws from the speakers. They also deliberated upon a collective advocacy by members of the civil society for an improved implementation of RTI law in Sindh. The event was also covered in social and print media.

In the end, all the CSOs praised TI Pakistan efforts for such an interactive and informative session, and requested to continue it in other districts of Sindh.