Under Article 19-A of the Constitution, RTI is a fundamental right in Pakistan. RTI is also considered important to empower citizens, ensure transparency in governance, and improve public services by facilitating public participation and oversight. In view of these considerations, the Punjab government enacted the Punjab Transparency and RTI Act, 2013, which facilitates easy implementation of this important fundamental right to information.
The law provides a comprehensive definition of information, defines which government bodies need to disclose information, what they have to disclose and what information is to be exempted. It also requires public bodies to put in place the systems and personnel for record management and to provide information to citizens.
Having a law helps citizens because it confirms that securing information is their right – it empowers them to demand information from public bodies. Furthermore, a law lays out not only the procedure for submitting requests, but also timelines for deciding information requests as well as the grievance redress mechanism in case citizens still can’t get the required information.