Staff Reporter:

QUETTA: In a recent consultation meeting organized by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Balochistan, Information Secretary Imran Khan reiterated the fundamental importance of access to information in fostering healthy, knowledgeable, and civilized societies. Khan emphasized that transparency and governance could be significantly improved through widespread access to information, affirming that every citizen holds the right to access information—a cornerstone of democracy.

The meeting, attended by a host of notable figures including Director General Public Relations (DGPR), Muhammad Noor Khetran, Syed Tanveer Akhtar, Saeed Ahmad Shahwani, Manzoor Ahmed Magsi, Taimoor Khan Kakar, Abdul Bari Mandokhail and several government officials, witnessed discussions centered around the implementation of the Access to Information Act. Khan commended NED’s advocacy efforts in support of the Right to Information Act, highlighting the potential of its full implementation to contribute to the public good, sustainable development, and the establishment of robust institutions.

Regarding the progress of the Access to Information Act, Khan informed the participants that information commissions had been established both at the federal level and in various provinces, with efforts underway to establish commissions in Balochistan. He assured that the appointment of a Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners would soon follow.

Director General Public Relations Muhammad Noor Khetran also spoke at the event, outlining the Department of Information and System Public Relations’ initiatives for RTI implementation. Khetran stressed the need for connectivity between information commissions in different provinces, echoing the sentiment of earlier briefings by NED representatives.

During the meeting, Adil Jahangir, Bahram Lahri, and Bahram Baloch from NED presented a comprehensive future action plan, emphasizing advocacy efforts, collaboration with government departments, and engagement with the Information Commission to further the cause of the Right to Information Act.

Moving forward, the Department of General Public Relations plans to leverage its social media platforms to disseminate information and raise awareness about the Right to Information Act. Additionally, a survey is slated to be conducted to gauge public sentiment and understanding regarding access to information laws.

The consultation meeting marks a significant step towards advancing transparency, accountability, and democratic principles in Balochistan, underlining the commitment of the government and civil society to uphold the fundamental right of access to information.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.