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Order on Appeal No E182-11/21 Imdad Hussain Vs Federal Investigation Agency, Ministry of Interior, Cabinet Division

This commission maintains that though the sugar enquiry report is in possession of FIA, Cabinet Division is the custodian of this enquiry report for the purposes of the Act, 2017 as it has propriety rights of this report.
This commission holds that the Act, 2017 does not only treat finalised enquiry reports as public documents, it requires federal public bodies to proactively publish these finalised enquiry reports on their web sites through its Section 5 (1) (i).
This commission maintains that the Act, 2017 does not provide blanket exemption to any finalised enquiry report.
This commission holds that merely because certain portions of a finalised enquiry report and its ancillary documents may contain information/records which may be hit by exemption clauses of the Act, 2017, it does not mean that it can be exempted from disclosure in its entirety.
The Act, 2017 envisages a situation wherein a document, which should be otherwise be made public but its parts may contain exempted information. In such an eventuality, part(s) containing information to be exempted can be severed, or, blanked out from the document as mentioned in Section 16 (1) (i) of the Act, 2017.
This commission also holds that if Respondent-3, Cabinet Division determines that certain portions of the requested finalised enquiry report, or, certain portions of any of its ancillary documents are hit by any of the exemption clauses of the Act, 2017, the Respondent-3 is required to record specific reason(s) to justify exemption of the portion by invoking the particular exemption clause of the Act, 2017.

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Order on Appeal No 1896-05/22 Sharafat Ali Zia Vs Cabinet Division

The appellant requested information about Year-wise particulars of gifts, valuing each Rs. 100,000/- and above, received by different Pakistani dignitaries. Senior officials from foreign country governments/ international organizations during the last 10 years along with price of such gifts determined by Tosha Khana.

The appellant also requested criterion adopted by Tosha Khana for determining price of gifts.

This Commission in multiple orders including Rana Abrar Vs Cabinet Division, Abdullah Malik Vs Cabinet Division and other held that record related to the Tosha Khana is a public record and it should be provided to the citizen under the Act.

Deputy Secretary (Coord) / Public Information Officer, Cabinet Division is directed to provide complete information to the Appellant, at the earliest but not later than 7 working days of the receipt of this Order, with intimation to this office.

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Order on Appeal No 1941-05/22 & 1894-05/22 Abuzar Salman Khan & Abdullah Malik Vs Cabinet Division

As far as the requested information about “the gifts received by the Prime Ministers and Presidents of Pakistan who have occupied the office 1947 till date” and “value of the gifts (prevalent at that time), assessed value of the gifts and amount paid by the recipients (Presidents and Prime Ministers) of the gifts from 1947 till date” is concerned, this commission holds that this information not only be disclosed, the list should be made available on the web site of the Respondent.

It is pertinent to note that the requested information in para 2 and 4 of this Order is not hit by any of the exemption clauses, section 16 (1) (k) of the Act, 2017 is also relevant in the instant Appeal which is as under:
“The exemptions set out in section 16 shall cease to apply after every twenty years and that record of public bodies shall be made public”

This commission has already held in Appeal No. 810-12/20 Rana Abrar Khalid VS Cabinet Division that “while giving „personal touch‟ to inter-state relations through the exchange of gifts between the Heads of States and Heads of Governments is a normal practice in the conduct of international relations, relations between any two states are dictated by common interests. At best, the “personal touch‟ supplements but in no way can supplant the role of common interests in determining the outcome of inter-state relations. In short, it is change in the shared common interests between two states, and not the exchange of gifts for personal touch between Heads of States and Heads of Governments which has any qualitative impact on inter-state relations.

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Order on Appeal No 1563-12/21 Rana Abrar Khalid Vs Cabinet Division

The appellant wanted to know that after winning the General Election 2021 of AJK on July 25, the PRIME Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan interviewed the PTI MLAs for the selection of the candidate for the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, was the government helicopter used to bring/transport AJK MLAs from various constituencies of Azad Kashmir to Islamabad during July 26, 2021 to August 4, 2021 which is reserved for the PM of Pakistan.

If the answer is yes, then in what capacity was the helicopter (reserved for the Prime inister of Pakistan) used to bring PTI MLAs of AJK to Islamabad for the interview of PMAJK during the July 25, 2021 to August 4, 2021 does the law allow it? Did the Prime Minister Imran Khan pay the bill for the use of government helicopter for this purpose from his own pocket?

The Respondent in its response also claimed that Honorable Islamabad High Court has granted stay order in a similar case, but despite multiple opportunities the Respondent failed to produce any court order which bar this Commission from proceedings on any appeal related to the requested information. In any case, the subject matter of the instant Appeal is entirely different from the one requested in Appeal No. 294-02/20 Shehzad Ahmed Khan Vs. Cabinet Division and hence requires detailed judgement of this commission.

This Commission maintains that the requested information belongs to the category of information which public bodies are legally bound to proactively disclose, through their web sites, under Section 5 (1) (g) of the Act. The requested information is also public information under Section 6 (b) of the Act.

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Order on Appeal No 1439-11/21 Irfan Jahangir Wattoo Vs Cabinet Division and Establishment Division

This commission maintains that as far as the date and the method of the approval of the requested information about “the draft rules framed by the Chairman Federal Public Service Commission for CSS Examination” is concerned, this requested information is also available with the Cabinet Division in the shape of minutes of the meeting.

It is important to highlight that the minutes of official meetings are exempted from disclosure under Section 7 (b) only if final decision has not been taken on the issue being deliberated upon in official meetings. Once final decision has been taken, minutes of meetings become public documents, unless hit by any of the exemption clause of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017 which is not the case in the instant Appeal.

The Public Information Officer, Cabinet Division and Public Information Officers, Establishment Division are directed to share with the Appellant following information within 7 working days of the receipt of this Order:

  • Date on which were “draft rules framed by the Chairman Federal Public Service Commission for CSS Examination Which were subsequently notified by FPSC vide S.R.O. No. 1452 (i)/2018 Dated 27-11-2-2018, were received in Cabinet Division;
  • Minutes of the meeting indicating the date and approval of “draft rules framed by the Chairman Federal Public Service Commission for CSS Examination Which were subsequently notified by FPSC vide S.R.O. No. 1452 (i)/2018 Dated 27-11-2-2018 along with the summary moved for the approval of these rules. (Minutes of meeting containing any unrelated matter be blanked out); and
  • Certified copy of correspondence indicating the date on which approval of the cabinet for aforesaid rules was conveyed to the chairman, FPSC

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Order on Appeal No 1587-12-2021 Abdullah Malik Vs Ministry of Interior, Cabinet Division, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony

The appellant wants to know the steps taken by the concerned authorities towards the implementation of verdict of Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan in a Suo Moto Case No. 7/2017 regarding Islamabad-Rawalpindi sit-in/dharna at Faizabad announced on 6th February, 2019 with certain declarations and directions to the Government of Pakistan, through the Cabinet Secretary, Secretary Defense, Secretary Interior, Secretary Human Rights, Secretary Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Secretary Information, the Chief Secretaries of the provinces, the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Chief Commissioner of Islamabad.. He has desired the information under the fundamental right enshrined in Article 19A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and the statutory right provided under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.

The appeal is allowed. The Designated Officers/Secretaries of the Ministry of Interior, Cabinet Division, Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony are directed to provide the appellant the desired information and record forthwith but in any case not later than seven days of the receipt of this order.

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Order on Appeal No 1528-12-2021 Syed Talha Ali Hamdani Vs Cabinet Division

In the application, the appellant has asked for a merit list of Civil Awards announced by the Government of Pakistan on Independence Day. The respondent public body has responded promptly on the notice of the Commission. It is apprised therein that the approved list of awardees of Pakistan Civil Awards, awarded on Independence Day are available on the website of the Cabinet Division. The reply is also supported with the copies of detailed instructions for making recommendations for Civil Awards for announcement on Independence Day, Article 259 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan along with all the notifications printed periodically in the gazette of Pakistan which are sufficient to explain all the quarries related to the selection of Awardees for the Civil Awards.

The Appeal is disposed of.

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Order on Applications for Implementation of Commission’s Order on Appeal No 810-12/20

This commission holds that the ‘delay’, though undesirable, does not meet the threshold of ‘willful’ delay to invoke Section 20 (1) (e) and (f) of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.
Applications seeking further intervention of this commission for the implementation of its Order are disposed of in deference to Hon’ble Islamabad High Court where Order of the commission in the instant Appeal is sub-judice.

This commission maintains that, notwithstanding the fact that there has been undesirable ‘delay’ in implementing/challenging of the Order, any action against the Respondent, under powers vested in this commission would not be the interest of justice at this stage when Order of the commission is pending decision in Hon’ble Islamabad High Court.

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Appeal No 1457-11/21 Pervez Said Vs Cabinet Division

As far as the requested information “Please provide a list of all gifts received by government/ Public functionaries from foreign states, dignitaries and others reported to the Toshakhana of the Cabinet Division since August 2018”, is concerned, this commission holds that this information not only be disclosed, the list should be made available on the web site of the Respondent.

So far as the requested information “Please indicate whether and how the said gifts have been disposed of under the procedure for the Acceptance and Disposal of Gifts laid down in Office Memorandum No.8/5/2017. TK dated 18th December, 2018 of the Cabinet Secretariat” is concerned, this commission also holds that the requested information should not only be disclosed to the Appellant, it should also be made available on the web site of the Respondent.

This commission is of the view that although the Respondent has filed petition in Islamabad High Court against the Order of the commission in Appeal No. 810-12/20 Rana Abrar Khalid VS Cabinet Division, the Honourable Islamabad High Court has not issued stay Order on the Order of the commission. As such, it is statutory duty of this commission to decide the instant appeal based on available record.

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Order on Appeal No E170-10/21 Syed Talha Ali Hamdani Vs Cabinet Division

The correspondence of the Appellant with the Respondent, Cabinet Division contains suggestions to make Citizens’ Portal more effective and queries of general nature. Furthermore, the Appellant has not sought access to specific records/information, henceforth it cannot be treated as request for information under Section 11 (3) of the Act.

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