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Freedom of Information Act - PAK Govt invites suggestions/comments

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    Freedom of Information Act - PAK Govt invites suggestions/comments

    Sabah the Government of Pakistan has published the draft of a Freedom of Information Act, which the President will later authorise as "Freedom of Information Ordinance, 2000".

    The government is inviting suggestions and comments to the draft before it asks the President to authorise the final Ordinace.
    Here is the draft:-
    ---------------------------------------------
    AN ORDINANCE

    to provide for transparency and freedom of information.

    WHEREAS it is expedient to provide for transparency and freedom of information to ensure that the citizens of Pakistan have improved access to public records and for the purpose to make the Federal Government more accountable to its citizens, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto;

    AND WHEREAS the National Assembly and the Senate stand suspended in pursuance of the Proclamation of Emergency of the fourteenth day of October, 1999 and the Provisional Constitution Order No.1 of 1999;

    AND WHEREAS the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to make immediate action;

    Now, therefore, in pursuance of the proclamation of Emergency of the fourteenth day of October, 1999, read with the Provisional Constitution Order No. 1 of 1999, as well as Order No. 9 of 1999, and in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the President is pleased to make and promulgate the following Ordinance:-

    1) Short title, extent and commencement .

    (1) This Ordinance may be called the Freedom of Information Ordinance, 2000.

    (2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan.

    (3) It shall come into force at once.

    2) Definitions.
    In this Ordinance, unless there is anything repugnant to the subject or context.

    a) “designated official” means an official of a public office designated under section 5

    b) “Mohtasib” means the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) appointed under Article 3 of the Establishment of the office of the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order, 1983 (P.O.No.1 of 1983).

    c) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Ordinance;

    d) “public office” means;

    i) any Ministry, Division, department or office of the Federal Government;

    ii) Secretariat of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament);

    iii) any office of any Board, Commission, Council, or other body established by, or under, a Federal law; and

    iv) any office of a body which is owned or controlled by the Federal Government or in which the Federal Government has a controlling share or interest; and

    e) “record” shall include drawings, computer records, photographs, microfilms, cinematograph films and audio and video recordings.

    3. Declaration of public record:- Subject to the provisions of section 4, the following record of all public offices are hereby declared to be the public record, namely:-

    a) instructions, policies and guidelines;

    b) record relating to sale, purchase, lease, mortgage ,acquisition or transfer in any other manner of properties both movable and immovable;

    c) record pertaining to approval, consents, permissions, concession, benefits, privileges, licences, contracts, permits, agreemenst, or any other advantages; and

    d) final orders including decisions taken at all meetings.

    4. Exclusion of certain record. Nothing contained in section 3 shall apply to the following record of all public offices, namely:

    a) noting on the files;

    b) minutes of meetings;

    c) any interim orders;

    d) record of the banking companies and financial institution relating to the accounts of their customers;

    e) record declared as classified under the policy made by the Federal Government.

    f) record relating to the personal privacy of any individual; and

    g) record of private documents furnished to a public office either on an express or implied condition that information contained in any such document shall not be disclosed to a third person.

    5. Designated official. (1) The Federal Government may, within thirty days of the commencement of this Ordinance, for every public office designate and official for the purposes of this Ordinance.

    (2) In case no such official has been designated or in the event of the absence or non-availability of the designated official, the person incharge of the public office shall be the designated official.

    6. Functions of designated official Subject to the provisions of this Ordinance and the rules made there under and the overall supervision and control of the Federal Government, the designated official shall provide the information contained in any public record or, as the case may be, a copy of any such record.

    7. Applications for obtaining information, etc.- (1) Subject to sub-section (2) any citizen of Pakistan may make an application to the designated official in the form as may be prescribed and shall with his application, furnish such information and documents, pay such fee and at such time as may be prescribed.

    (2) Nothing contained in sub-section (1) shall apply to such public record as has been published in the official Gazette or in the form of a book offered for sale.

    8. Procedure for disposal of applications.- (1) Subject to sub-section (2), on receiving an application under section 7, the designated official shall, within twenty-one days of the receipt of request, supply to the applicant the required information or, as the case may be, a copy of any public record.

    (2) In case the designated official is of the opinion that

    (a) the application is not in th form as has been prescribed;

    (b) the applicant has not furnished such information and documents or has not paid such fee as has been prescribed;

    (c) the applicant is not entitled to receive such information;

    (d) the required information or, as the case may be, the required record does not constitute a public record under section 3; or

    (e) the required information or, as the case may be, the required record constitutes a record which is excluded under section 4,

    he shall record his decision in writing and the applicant shall be informed about such decision within twenty-one days of the receipt of the application.

    (3) The information from, or the copy of, any public record supplied to the applicant under sub-section (1), shall contain a certificate at the foot thereof that the information is correct or, as the case may be, the copy is a true copy of such public record, and such certificate shall be dated and signed by the designated official.

    9. Recourse to the Mohtasib.- (1) If the applicant is not provided the information or copy of the record declared public record under section 3 within the prescribed time or the designated official refuses to give such information or, as the case may be, copy of such record, on the ground that the applicant is not entitled to receive such information or copy of such record, the applicant may, within thirty days of the last date of the prescribed time for giving such information or, as the case may be, copy of such record, or the communication of the order of the designated official declining to give such information or copy of such record, file a complaint with the Mohtasib.

    (2) The Mohtasib may, after hearing the applicant and the designated official, direct the designated official to give the information or, as the case may be, the copy of the record or may reject the complaint.

    (10) Ordinance not to derogate other laws.- The provisions of this Ordinance shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, anything contained in any other law for the time being in force.

    (11) Power to make rules.- (1) The Federal Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Ordinance.

    (2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers, such rules may provide for.

    (a) the fee payable for obtaining information from, and copies of the public record;
    (b) the form of application for obtaining information from, and copies of, the public record; and
    (c) the form in which information from public record shall be furnished.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Comments ans suggestions should be mailed to:-

    [email protected]

    [This message has been edited by Malik73 (edited September 11, 2000).]

    #2
    Malik bhai thanks for the information – what will be definition of personal and private information when this in enforced? By the way did anyone else send a mail? If so could you plz share some of your main points with us.

    Comment


      #3
      Sabah, the draft ordinace states there are 4 areas which are considered PUBLIC INTEREST. These are:-

      a) instructions, policies and guidelines;

      b) record relating to sale, purchase, lease, mortgage ,acquisition or transfer in any other manner of properties both movable and immovable;

      c) record pertaining to approval, consents, permissions, concession, benefits, privileges, licences, contracts, permits, agreemenst, or any other advantages; and

      d) final orders including decisions taken at all meetings

      - These are all welcome, particularly b and c which I think are targeted at officials (politicians) who try to benefit from the sale of plots and property etc. Hopefully this ordinance will put an end to very expensive form of finacial corruption.

      - The ordinace goes onto list a set of exclusions from public interest. Of particular CONCERN are the following:-

      e) record declared as classified under the policy made by the Federal Government.

      f) record relating to the personal privacy of any individual; and

      g) record of private documents furnished to a public office either on an express or implied condition that information contained in any such document shall not be disclosed to a third person

      - My query to the government is what is regarded as "classified" and "personal privacy". I can only speculate that "classified" means matters of national security?

      - But I think the "personal privacy" clause needs a lot more clarification from the government, as I believe it could be used by future elected governments to avoid ACCOUNTABILITY. Case after case has been exposed of top politicians (like BB and NS)concealing their ill-gotten wealth under the names of realtives etc. So surely when a politician is under suspicion of finacial corruption etc his bank accounts and that of his near relatives should become a matter of public interest?

      Comment


        #4
        Mailik thanks for the summary, i wasn't going to read all that ****.

        ------------------
        CROIRE A L'INCROYABLE
        You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

        Comment

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