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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore and explain the provision of the right of access to information (RAI), a remarkable development particularly in the field of human rights and information management in Pakistan. This study has two objectives: (1) to track the practice and propensity of public information officers (PIOs) in providing information under the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2013; (2) to examine the perceptions of information seekers in retrieving the information under the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2013 (PTRIA, 2013). A mixed-method, sequential design with a parallel database variant was used to collect data. This study was divided into two phases; data of both phases were collected sequentially. The survey method was used to collect data in the first phase of this study. The questionnaire was the source of data collection from public information officers (PIOs) (n=315) working in nine divisions of the province of Punjab, Pakistan to understand their practices and preparedness level in providing information under PTRIA, 2013 with 95.5 % (n=301) response rate. Interviews were conducted to collect data for the qualitative phase of the study. The sample size for the qualitative phase was ten citizens of Pakistan who applied for information at least five times under the RAI. The study findings unwrapped a gap between the perceptions of public information officers (PIOs) and the information seekers, as PIOs claimed that all the information is organized well, and they provide the required information on time. However, they inform citizens if there were any logical delays in providing information. Vice Versa, citizens of Pakistan described that information services are not as per their satisfaction level due to the poor record management system, non-cooperative attitude of information providing bodies, unnecessary delays in retrieving required information and culture of secrecy among the government bodies.

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