Pakistan Peoples Party Official

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Senator calls for end to sacred cow syndrome, RTI for accountability

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Islamabad October 6, 2015: Taking part in the discussion PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the slogan of accountability will sound hollow without across the board accountability of every one by rejecting the notion of holy cows whether in the security establishment or in the judiciary and without an effective Right to Information law.

He said that as long as the sacred cows syndrome persisted accountability will remain a pipe dream. He said that the notion of some institutions carrying out accountability through internal mechanisms was a myth the fallacy of which has been more than exposed.

The senate today must send a strong signal that it demands across the board accountability and rejects the notion of sacred cows.

He said that that the Right to Information Law has been finalized by the senate committee on information nearly 18 months ago and the government had even agreed to own it as government bill but it had still not been approved by the Cabinet for laying in the Parliament. He said that every time the information Committee met the Information minister promised that it will be placed before the cabinet at its next meeting- a promise that has not been kept even while the cabinet has met more than 15 times since the minister first made the promise.

He said that when the senate committee first started its work on the draft law nearly three years ago and sought views of relevant stake holders the defence ministry refused to give its inputs saying also that it was a sensitive matter which should not be kept o hold till it issued NOC for the purpose.

Farhatullah Babar wondered if the RTI law had been withheld for the past 18 months because of the objections of the defence establishment.

Without RTI there can be no transparency and without transparency there can no genuine accountability, he concluded.

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