Pukhtun Nama Report
The Women’s Action Forum (WAF), a non-governmental organization working for women’s political, economic, social and legal rights in Pakistan since 1981, has been involved in public relations with the federal and provincial governments, the Supreme Court A request has been submitted to the Provincial Registries and the Federal Secretaries of Law and Defense to provide the following information about the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts and the senior officers of the three Armed Forces:
1. Details of income and assets of judges / officers and their spouses and children
2. Details of government benefits and facilities available to them
3. Details of pension and retirement benefits
4. Details of income tax paid by them
5. Information about plots and land allotted to them under various government schemes
The Women’s Front filed the petitions in the context of a reference filed by the federal government against Supreme Court Judge Qazi Faiz Issa, in which the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) relied on the assets of themselves and their spouses and children. Was asked to take action against them.
These petitions have been filed under Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan which gives every citizen the right to access information about public and private institutions receiving government funds. This right to access information (or Right to Information (RTI)) is based on the principle that access to information about government and state affairs is not only the right of the people but also to ensure transparency and accountability.
The Women’s Action Forum has long fought for equal human rights in the country
This is the first time that a constitutional procedure has been adopted to obtain information about senior officials from two institutions that are not generally investigated.
But it is also a fact that most people in Pakistan do not use this legal route to learn about state and government matters. Even those who use the RTI Act often do not receive a response to their requests. The Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) is a government-run organization based in Islamabad. According to a report, the overall response from government offices to RTI applications is only 13 percent.
The same report also examines the availability of information on the websites of government departments that must be available to them under RTI rules – according to this analysis, these mandatory requirements from government departments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa The rate of information provision is 52% while in Punjab government departments it is 38% and in federal government departments it is 25%. The rate of provision of this essential information by Sindh government departments is only 12%.
In these circumstances, it is very unlikely that the women front will be provided with the required information on requests, but the lack of this information will certainly raise questions about transparency and accountability in the judiciary and the military.