ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has suspended the order of the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) regarding the disclosure of minutes from the meeting on the appointment of the Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab.
Chief Justice Aamer Farooq presided over the writ petition filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the PIC‘s order on Monday, June 26. Sources informed that after hearing the arguments presented by the ECP’s lawyer, the IHC suspended the PIC’s order and issued notices to all respondents, for detailed responses.
Earlier, the Pakistan Information Commission had directed the ECP to provide the minutes of the meeting and related details concerning the appointment of the Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab in response to an appeal filed by former Caretaker Minister Khushdil Khan.
However, the ECP declined to provide the information, citing its classification and exemption from disclosure under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.
The order of the Pakistan Information Commission states that the documents in question are public documents under Article 85 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat Order 1984, and that every public officer having custody of a public document, which any person has a right to inspect, shall give that person a copy of it upon demand.
The order also notes that the law does not require the certified copy of a public document to be issued or certified only by the originator or author of the document.
In January, the ECP appointed Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi as the caretaker chief minister of Punjab. Naqvi’s appointment raised concerns as his name was among those proposed by opposition leader Hamza Shehbaz.
The appointment faced an unusual delay following the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly due to ongoing disagreements between the provincial government and the opposition. Eventually, the matter was referred to the electoral watchdog after a bipartisan parliamentary committee failed to reach a consensus within the given timeframe.