PESHAWAR: Citizens in tribal districts get right to access data held by departments after the government started the extension of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act to former tribal areas.

These areas were previously administered by both the federal and provincial governments but were merged with KP through a constitutional amendment.

In this regard, directions were issued to all commissioners and deputy commissioners in the merged districts through the provincial Information Department to appoint the Public Information Officers (PIOs) in their respective departments as a first step in the complete implementation of the RTI law.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Department through a letter directed the authorities in the merged and ex-Pata districts that consequent to the enactment of the Constitutional 25th Amendment all laws immediately enforced in the province stand extended to erstwhile Fata and Pata as well.

The Districts administration of all the districts on tribal districts and Malakand division were asked to notify Public Information Officers (PIOs) in their respective offices, subordinate offices and heads of all line departments as a part to extend the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Commission to these areas.

Notifications were issued by Commissioner Malakand division to Deputy Commissioners of Swat, Shangla, Malakand, Bunir, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Chitral and Bajaur to nominate the PIOs. As like tribal districts, Malakand division was also deprived of RTI commission.

After the merger of tribal districts and ex-PATA with the province, all laws of the province shall be extended to these are which were earlier called Provincially administrated tribal areas and Federal administrated Tribal areas.

It was informed that a summary was moved to the chief minister for this purpose, which was approved on 8th March and it was decided the first step towards the implementation of RTI is to nominate the public information officers under section 6 of the KP RTI Act. With whom requests for information can be submitted by citizens. In case no such officials are nominated by the public body, the head of that public body shall be presumed to be PIO. Details of the notified PIOs should be communicated to KP right to information commission.

It is believed that the implementation of the RTI law would bring transparency to the functioning of the public bodies in the ex-tribal areas, which is pivotal to the mainstreaming of these areas.

Courtesy: TNN