LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly has made attendance record of its members available on its official website to fulfil the provisions of Transparency and Right to Information Act passed by it in 2013.  It is also in line with the directions issued by Provincial Information Commission set up under the said law.

The Assembly Secretariat has also notified names of two information officers to provide information to the public about working of the Assembly.

Meanwhile, PILDAT has welcomed the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab taking a lead in making legislators attendance record available on the Assembly website. Terming it a significant step towards greater transparency and public openness, PILDAT has demanded that other legislatures of the country should follow the suit.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, PILDAT lauded the decision by the elected leadership of the Assembly for taking the much-needed initiative.

It said citizens need to know the attendance and performance of their elected representatives, the statement states, adding, that withholding of this key information by other legislatures violates every basic requirement of representation of transparency. Public availability of legislative attendance records of legislators will help the country adopt global standards of Parliamentary openness and transparency.

PILDAT, which has been advocating for greater transparency in the Parliament for years, has repeatedly asked the National Assembly of Pakistan to provide the attendance records of individual members publicly, finally invoking the Freedom of Information Ordinance, 2002, upon the Secretariat’s refusal to provide attendance records.

PILDAT appealed to the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Federal Ombudsman), which upheld PILDAT’s point of view to provide the requested attendance records.

The National Assembly chose to file an appeal against the verdict and the case is pending with the President of Pakistan for the past many months.

PILDAT hopes that the President would decide in favour of greater transparency, especially in light of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab’s decision to publicly provide attendance record of its members.