This commission notes that the Minister-in-Charge has classified under Section 7 (f) of “2017 Act” requested” certified true copies of the recommendations given to the concerned Provinces for the issuance of hunting permits for Houbara Bustard between 2015 and 2021”. However, the Minister-in-Charge has not followed the manner enunciated in the “the 2017 Act” to classify records by recording reasons as to why records cannot be disclosed.
As the Minister-in-Charge has not recorded reasons for classifying the requested information/record, this commission is left with no option but to determine as to whether disclosure of the requested letters written to provinces as to who could hunt and how many Houbara Bustards is in public interest and whether harm from disclosure of this information outweighs public interest.
While there are strong arguments for the disclosure of the requested information in public interest, this commission is also mindful of the obligation of the state of Pakistan to its people to keep the requested information shrouded in the veil of secrecy in the larger economic interest of the people of Pakistan. In short, the idea is right, the time is not, especially given the interplay between the economic interests of the people of Pakistan and the inter-state relations at the present moment. Hence, the requested information cannot be disclosed under Section 7 (f) and Section 16 (1) (ii) which states that information is exempted from disclosure if “its disclosure is likely to cause damage to the interests of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the conduct of International Relation”.