The government of Pakistan is only very slowly adopting the internet. A lot of government departments do have websites, but they are often ill designed, not functioning and slow. However, these websites still act as valuable resources for information.
In 2010, the Right to Information Act was passed, enabling the public sharing of government data. Ironically, this seems to be missing on the official website of the National Assembly. A copy is found on the website of the Express Tribune.
This Act shall be interpreted so as
(i) to promote the right to information as a constitutional right.
(ii) to facilitate and encourage, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the disclosure of information.
iii) All public bodies falling within the ambit of this Act shall publish, in simple terms, a yearly report on documents and activities of relevance to the public including information on organizational structure, norm and functioning, budget and finance, content of decisions and activities affecting the public and efforts to include public consultation in decision making.
I am fairly amazed by the amount of data available online.
- A listing of bills and acts passed by the National Assembly can be found on its official website http://www.na.gov.pk/. You can also read the transcripts of National Assembly sessions here.
- Similarly the laws of the Punjab government can be found at http://punjablaws.punjab.gov.pk/. The Punjab Portal is at www.punjab.gov.pk.
- The official website of the Sindh government has immpressive amounts of data and can be found at http://www.sindh.gov.pk/.
- The Election Commission website is much visited these days and contains a wealth of data. http://ecp.gov.pk/.
- The State Bank reveals circulars and notifications, laws and regulations, and monetory policy on its website, http://www.sbp.org.pk/.
There is also available this curious challenge
... the Information Technology University, in collaboration with the Punjab Information Technology Board, proposes to develop a platform that enables proactive publishing of government data online and amplifies access to government information to the public via www.data.gov.pk ... takes the traditional open data model a step further to introduce thecitizen as a key evaluator of the published government data, particularly datasets related to development projects, through real-time crowd monitoring. This two-way communication model between the government and citizens via an open data platform ensures transparency and collaboration between the Pakistani government and the citizens it aims to serve.
What can one make of this?