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Right to Information; a path to Enlightenment!

BY NATASHA

The right to information is one of the fundamental rights in Pakistan, In October 2002, then President Musharraf promulgated the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 (FOI Ordinance) Any government entity can be asked to provide information by a common citizen. The organization has a legal obligation to release the information, and it must do so within 30 days.


The Freedom of Information Ordinance gives any Pakistani citizen access to official records stored by a federal government organization. Every citizen has the right to request any information from the government, see any government papers, and obtain certified photocopies of those materials. Citizens can also utilize their right to information to request an official inspection of any government work or to obtain a sample of any material used in that work.


The government officials would most definitely respond negatively to a citizen’s demand regarding transparency of certain documents. Thus, we need a mechanism or a process through which we can exercise this fundamental right.


All citizens have the right to request information, whether they want to inspect the government's work and operations. your request is valid if you are seeking information or wishing to see records of governing and administrative authorities as long as it is not against the National Security.


Every government agency appoints one officer to serve as a Public Information Officer (PIO). When a department receives an RTI request, the PIO is responsible for providing the requested information to the applicant within a period of 30 days.


According to the law, RTI information must be delivered within 30 days, Government records, on the other hand, can be missing or be misplaced. In such cases, it is possible that the information might take longer than the above-mentioned period. In this scenario, the PIO; responsible must issue a written notification of the potential delay and the justification for it. If the concerned officer fails to do so and the information is not obtained within the specified period, the PIO may face punishments if the matter is submitted to appellate authorities.


A citizen has a right to question the government regarding how