Access to information a must to ensure good governance

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ISLAMABAD: Access to information is mandatory to ensure transparency and good governance and curb corruption in the country, said speakers at a roundtable dialogue on “Transparency in Governance” organized by a non-government organisation here on Friday.
Transparency in governance refers to the absence of secrecy and mystery between the government and those being governed. It means the government shares as much information with citizens as possible. The information shared should not be ambiguous or selective, but complete and correct, the speakers said.
Alia Rasheed, director, National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS), in the NAB, said for transparency there was a dire need to ensure uniformity of law, establishment of vigilance units in government department, amendment to esta codes and Binami Trust Act. Implementing PEPRA rules and reforming police were also mandatory to ensure transparency, she said.
Sajjad Hussain from NADRA, speaking on the occasion, said responsibility, accountability, internal and external control, vigilance, strong documentation and minimum enforcement of secrete act would play a vital role to ensure transparency in the country. So far NADRA has issued 1.2 million Watan cards to the flood affectees and paid Rs 24.1 billion to them, he said.
Adil Gillani, chairman, Transparency International, said transparency meant openness. “Government departments need to put all records and information on their websites as it is a public property,” he said. He observed it was the responsibility of NAB to take action against various scams like sugar crisis, and not the duty of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo motu notice.
“Presently, there is no governance in Pakistan,” he said. Gulmina Bilal, executive director, “Individual Land Pakistan,” said transparency in governance not only improved the goodwill of the government but also that of its functionaries.
“Governance is not just limited to politics but economic governance is of great importance as well. The economy of a country decides moods of the population, because their welfare depends solely on this important factor,” she said.
Gulmina said Pakistan, being a democracy, also had this legislation as an integral part of its constitution. However, its implementation was still not up to the mark, she concluded.