Right to Information Bill to be presented for cabinet approval

Right to Information Bill to be presented for cabinet approval

PESHAWAR (APP): Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid Thursday assured the PFUJ delegates from across the country that Right to Information Bill would be presented to the federal cabinet in a few days for approval.

The bill would ensure right of access to information, he said addressing a reception hosted by Advisor to the Prime Minister Engr Amir Muqam in honour of PFUJ delegates gathered here for their biennial meeting.

The minister said after the cabinet's approval, the bill, which had been drafted in the light of recommendations of politicians, members of civil society and media representative bodies would be tabled in the National Assembly.

He said the draft bill was sent to the legal experts today for vetting so that there was no legal lacuna in it. It should be a comprehensive piece of legislation, he added.

Like the Punjab government, the minister said, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz government at the Center would get the credit of doing such an important legislation.

He recalled that the Punjab government was the first to introduce the Right to Information Bill and he himself was Special Assistant to the Chief Minister at that time.

"It is my earnest desire to get the Right to Information Bill passed at the Center as I did in Punjab," he remarked.

He said 'access to information' was the constitutional right of every citizen and it had been acknowledged by all the political parties.

"So it is our responsibility to ensure people's access to information."

The minister said the bill would also ensure protection of national interests.

Referring to the demands of journalist community presented by senior journalist Ziauddin in his welcome address, the Information Minister said the government was not making any hurdle in the constitution of wage board award. The delay in that regard was due to newspaper owners, who had not yet nominated their representative.

He, however, said he would wait for a few days more for the newspaper owners to nominate their representative on the wage board and otherwise he would announce the constitution of the board.

He said he was fully aware of the problems faced by the journalists and sincerely wanted to address them.

Earlier in his address, Advisor to the Prime Minister Engr Amir Muqam condemned the anti-Pakistan speech of MQM leader Altaf Hussain.

He said the government was determined to frustrate the designs of anti-state forces. The Prime Minister had already launched the war against terrorism, which would continue till the last terrorist was eliminated, he added.

The entire nation, he said, was on the same page as far as the country's integrity and solidarity was concerned. He praised the journalists for playing their role against the forces inimical to national interests.

Senior journalist Ziauddin said the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) had stood against consecutive marshal laws imposed in the country and worked for the promotion of democracy.

He mentioned a number of problems being faced by the working journalists, such as non-payment of salaries in time while some of them were not even issued appointment letters and other unfavourable working conditions.