Cabinet likely to review Right to Information bill

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet is expected to take up the draft of the Right to Information Bill, 2016, in its next meeting. But the information ministry is planning to review the bill as soon as the law ministry returns the draft.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid told The Express Tribune on Sunday that the ministry is also going to send the draft of the bill to relevant stakeholders before it is presented before the Cabinet.

He appreciated the role of PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, who deliberated upon the bill in different meetings of the Senate committee for information and broadcasting.

However, he did not reveal when the cabinet meeting will be held.

In response to a question raised by PML-N lawmaker Shakila Luqman, Rashid said that his ministry had received the draft of the bill on August 12. The draft bill will be submitted to the cabinet in terms of Rules of Business, 1973, for its endorsement.

He pointed out that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had formed a five-member ministerial committee to formulate recommendations on the bill on January 11. Apart from Rashid himself, other committee members included Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for State for Information Technology and Telecom Anusha Rehman, Adviser to the PM on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui and parliamentary secretary for the Interior Division, Maryam Aurangzeb.

The committee, according to him, discussed the draft bill in detail and suggested recommendations for ensuring that the draft bill met its intended purpose.

In order to strengthen the draft bill, the committee in its fifth meeting on April 8, referred the draft to another three-member committee comprising Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid, Adviser to PM on Human Rights Barrister Zafarullah Khan and AGP Ashtar Ausaf Ali.

Moreover, following endorsement of the draft bill by the cabinet, it would be sent to parliament.

The Express Tribune: