Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has asked government to hasten the process of formulation of National Action Plan for Open Government Partnership. The deadline for formally presenting the Action Plan to OGP is October 31, 2017 and there are little indications from government that deadline would be met.

Pakistan government has committed on International Forum to adhere to four key principles of the OGP including fiscal transparency, access to information, asset disclosures and citizen engagement and government should now show seriousness and demonstrate practical steps towards these principles.

Pakistan joined the OGP last year when finance minister, Ishaq Dar, presented letter of Intent during OGP Global forum held in Paris in December last year. The next step was to prepare a national Action Plan for two years consisting of concrete commitments and steps that government would take to open up its institutions for the citizens. Pakistan missed the first deadline of June 30, 2017. The next deadline to formally submit the National Action Plan to OGP is October 31, 2017 and with present pace there is likelihood of missing the revised deadline. The missing of deadline by the government will earn a bad name for Pakistan on an important international forum.

While formulating the National Action Plan, there is a mandatory requirement that line ministries sit with the relevant civil society groups to finalize the commitments. The Economic Affairs Division (EAD) initiated this process early this year which resulted in the formation of multi-stakeholder forum to finalize the draft commitments. That forum met on Oct 12 to further discuss and review the commitments received from different ministries. Civil society members of this forum has shown number of reservations on these commitments and has asked government to revise these draft commitments in the light of the discussion held at multi-stakeholder forum.

The executive director of CPDI, Amer Ejaz, lamented that enough discussion and preparation were not made before presenting the draft commitments at multi-stakeholder forum. He told that civil society discussed and pointed out number of areas of improvement especially in the thematic areas of Access to Information, Fiscal Transparency and Rule of Law. The government representatives, he told, committed to share the final version with forum members before sending it formally to cabinet for approval. “No such details have yet been shared with forum members and with only six days left, we are not sure about meeting the deadline”, Ejaz told.