‘No right to information still’


The right to information was made part of constitution through the 18th Amendment but till now the ordinance has not been fully implemented and accessing information is still difficult. This was observed by speakers during a one-day workshop on ‘Right to Information’ organised by Shehri – Citizens for a Better Environment (CBE). The workshop was attended by a large number of people representing provincial ombudsman office, city government, provincial departments, civil society organisations and the media.
It was said at the conference that the right to information was made part of country’s constitution through Article 19-A of 18th Amendment. “The Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002 was initially promulgated by General Pervez Musharraf and the rules were issued in 2004 but without any input from stakeholders, the ordinance has not been fully implemented and accessing information is still difficult.”
It was observed that neither are the information officers fully aware of their duties and responsibilities nor are the citizens aware of their rights to access government-held information. The participants also discussed the salient features of the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002, the Sindh Freedom of Information Bill 2006 and the problems related to accessing information and also the value of freedom of information. The participants were guided on drafting freedom of information applications and also discussed the implementation of the related laws.
At the end, the participants drew up an action plan towards strengthening the implementation of the ordinance. The workshop was moderated by Shehri-CBE General Secretary Amber Alibhai and members Roland deSouza and Sameer Hamid Dodhy, who gave presentations on the freedom of information act. Sindh Ombudsman Registrar Masood Ishrat also spoke on the occasion. Sindh Environment and Alternate Energy Minister Shaharyar Khan Mahar also attended the workshop.