Access to information is the fundamental right of all citizens, just as every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression. To enable this, the Government of Pakistan had established the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002, in order to ensure transparency in government and to hold the federal and provincial governments more accountable. The Ordinance allows citizens to have access to public records and to ask for information as their right, in order to establish good governance, through the enforcement of the rule of law. At the same time, the Ordinance makes the functioning of Government more effective in delivering social and public services, which require constant monitoring and attention. The Law also provides a grievance redressal mechanism for those who have been denied information: In case the designated officer of a public body fails to provide the requested information/record within 21 days, the requester may, in terms of Section 19 of the Ordinance, file a complaint with the head of the public body, who shall dispose of the complaint within 30 days of its receipt. In case the competent authority fails to redress the grievance of the requester, within 30 days of the filing of complaint or refuses to provide him/her the requested information within time, the requester may file a complaint with the Wafaqi Mohtasib. An NGO has used the FoI as an effective tool to obtain information from cooperative government departments, for their petitions against illegal buildings and land conversions in the SCoP and the SHC. The Indian Right to Information (RTI), Indias counterpart to our FIO, is much more comprehensive and powerful and is rated as one of the best RTI laws in the world. It came into force on 12 October 2005. Through the above site, ordinary citizen can easily track the progress of their individual complaints. The RTI law has become a great tool for the citizens of India, to strengthen democracy and good governance and as an instrument to demand their 'right to information and thus hold the government accountable. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, we lack all these laws and the citizens are either not aware or bothered to use The Freedom of Information Ordinance to their advantage. Under the FoI Ordinance, all the information that is being exposed by our TV channels, is the fundamental right of the citizens and by muzzling our media, the government is violating our rights. We have the right to be informed and demand details of RPPs that are being imported and if they are second hand, as reported and why advance payment and bank guarantees for payment of rentals are being provided by GoP? Keeping this in mind, an NGO had tried to use the Freedom to Information Ordinance to obtain a copy of the original Privatisation Agreement and subsequent amendments between NEPRA, KESC and the Abraaj Group last year. We had addressed letters to Chairman NEPRA and MD PPIB, who had admitted that the rental power plants with higher tariffs, were inefficient, and had requested them to provide us copies of evaluation reports prepared or the RPPs, the tariff petition filed with NEPRA and copies of the Agreements of these projects. We had also requested NEPRA to provide us the copies of the terms of contract between the importers of the RPPs, who according to reports, have been given 'extraordinary facilities to import these plants, including 17% advance payments and high electric tariffs. Unfortunately, one year later, we are still being stoned walled by the relevant departments and despite our repeated requests, we have been completely ignored. The effective functioning of democracy depends upon the participation in public life of a citizen that is well informed and throughout the world, Freedom of Information laws are changing the workings of governments. If the FOI Ordinance is made functional in letter and in spirit, then our TV channels would not have to play the role of local a WikiLeaks in Pakistan. The wicked WikiLeaks have released a Genii that is haunting world leaders and rattling the skeletons in their cupboards. Governments across the world are trying to muzzle the Genii and put it back in the bottle, but are facing a hard time. In order to sensitise the FOI Ordinance, NGOs have organised a seminar in Karachi on 6th December. The objective of this seminar is to make citizens aware of the importance of the access to information laws and encourage them to use these laws in accessing information. email: