Right to information, wrongs of implementation

Other than the insertion of Article 19-A in the Constitution through the 18th Amendment, major political parties have sadly done nothing of significance with regard to ensuring citizens’ right to information. Explicit constitutional protection accorded to the right to information is commendable, but the Supreme Court and the Sindh High Court have clarified that the freedom of expression, protected under Article 19, is incomplete without the right to information. Furthermore, constitutional protection notwithstanding, in the absence of effective legislation that ensures the right to information and implementation of these laws, citizens, journalists and civil society groups cannot access certified information held by government departments on the time of their choosing, as is their right. Seen in this context, major political parties have failed miserably and there is a yawning gap between the public pledges of their leaders and concrete actions on the ground.

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