Lack of Transparency and Freedom of Information in Pakistan: An analysis of Government’s Functioning and Realistic Policy Options for Reform
Initial Work and Advocacy Plan
1. Aim of the Project
Aim of the project is to analyse government’s functioning in Pakistan, with special focus on state of transparency and access to information, and identify realistic policy options for reform. Objectives of the project are to conduct research into state practice in Pakistan related to existing mechanisms of secrecy and information disclosure, conduct interviews with officials and civic groups, and analyze the nature and intensity of information access attributable to a non-transparent secretive system of governance; and write a research paper and 20-page policy study in coordination with the group advisor, including realsitic policy recommendations for all the relevant stakeholders including government officials, legislators, judges and civic groups.
2. Identification of OSI Network Programs for Partnership
The project would network and establish partnershiops with various relevant OSI programs with the aim of
· Sharing information;
· Seeking advice and support, as and when necessary;
· Benefiting from their experiences; and
· Helping each other in establising links and partnerships with other similar initiatives across the regions.
More specifically, the programs that I would like to network and establish partnerships would include the following:
2.1. Open Society Institute, Brussels;
2.2. Open Society Institute, New York;
2.3. Open Society Institute, Washington D.C;
2.4. Open Society Foundation, London;
2.5. Local Government Information Network (LOGIN);
2.6. East East Program: Partnership Beyong Borders, OSI, London;
2.7. Network Media Program, OSI, London;
2.8. Democracy Coalition Project;
2.9. The Democracy Collaborative;
2.10. U.S. Justice Fund.
3. Project Outcomes
Final outcomes of the project will include the following:
3.1. Research Paper
· Problem statement;
· Research questions;
· Structure of the paper.
3.1.2. Existing Legal, Procedural and Institutional Framework
· Past situation (until 1990);
· Recent developments (since 1990);
· Current trendas/ socio-political change (supportive/inhibitive).
3.1.3. State of Transparency and Access to Information
· Current practice;
· Development of trends/ attitudes overtime.
3.1.4. Implications of Lack of Transparency and Access to Informarion
· Inefficiencies and corruption;
· Non-conducive environment for citizens’ participation;
· Political development (e.g. uninformed electoral choices; poor performance of legislators in executive oversight);
· Economic development (e.g. constraints for investors)
3.1.5. Understanding Recent Policy Initiatives for Reform
· Demand/ pressures for reform (e.g. donors, civil society);
· Resistance to change (e.g. vast sections of establishment);
· Nature and process of policy initiatives in the given political-institutional environment;
· Gaps and problems in policy making process.
3.1.6. Implementation and Impact of Recent Reform Initiatives
· Article 137 (i.e.on ’Transparency’) in Local Government Ordinance 2001;
· Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002;
· Rules for Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002;
· Other measures promoting transparency.
3.2. Workshops and Meetings
3.2.1. Meetings with stakeholders including civil society activists, government officials, senior journalists, and legislators;
3.2.2. Meetings with OSI networking programs as well other relevant initiatives;
3.2.3. Participation at workshops and conferences (local, national and international);
3.2.4. Launching of policy paper in a meeting participated by relevant stakeholders;
3.3. Policy Study (20 pages)
3.3.1. State of Transparency and Access to Information;
3.3.2. Gaps and Problems in the Existing Legal and Institutional Framework;
3.3.3. Cost of Poor and Ineffective Legal and Institutional Framework;
3.3.4. Recommendations for Policy Makers.
3.4. Briefing Papers
One briefing paper will be prepared, which would primarily be meant for legislators, and which would focus on the role that legislators could play to improve the state of transparency and access to information in governance.