Right to Information

NA Secretariat refuses to share data of officers who violates the privileges of parliamentarians

Islamabad: The National Assembly Secretariat has refused to share data of the government’s officers who have allegedly breached the privileges of parliamentarians.

The NA Secretariat had declined the provision of the information citing Section 7C and Section 16 of “The Right of Access to Information Act 2017”.

In November last year, “The Reporters” had requested the National Assembly Secretariat to provide information about how many members of the National Assembly had submitted their Privilege Motions since 2018, how many of these motions had been referred to the Standing Committee.

When these questions were asked to the National Assembly Secretariat, they refused to give information.

If any member of the National Assembly thinks that his privilege has been violated due to the behavior of a government official or a government department, he may file a privilege motion with the NA Speaker against the said official or department.

After reviewing the privilege motion, the Speaker presents it in the Assembly or sends it to the relevant standing committee for further review. The concerned officer or representative of the department has to appear before the standing committee and give an explanation.

The Reporters had also asked about the outcome of the discussions in the standing committees and the recommendations of the committee.

However, the National Assembly did not provided the requested information compelling this scribe to approach the Pakistan Information Commission.

In response to the notice issued by the PIC, the National Assembly Secretariat had replied that the requested information could not be provided under Section 7C and Section 16 of “The Right of Access to Information Act 2017”.

Section 7C prohibits the disclosure of information that has not yet been finalized, while Section 16 prohibits the disclosure of any third-party information.

The Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) has issued a detailed verdict on the appeal, directing the National Assembly Secretariat to provide the information to this scribe within seven days.

The Information Commission has written in its decision that the citizens have the right to review the proceedings and performance of their elected representatives in the National Assembly.

PIC order stated that the debate in the National Assembly and its related documents are the public records accessible to the citizens as defined in the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.

“The questions raised by the Members of the National Assembly, response submitted by the department in this regard, and the details of the questions forwarded to the standing committees for discussion, along with the details of the findings and recommendations of the committees are the public record as defined under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017 and the citizens have the fundamental and statutory right to have the access to the said record and information”, PIC maintained.

اس خبر کو اردو میں پڑھنے کےلئے یہاں کلک کریں۔


Saddia Mazhar

Saddia Mazhar, an accomplished Investigative Journalist hailing from District Sahiwal, Punjab, possesses a fervor for unveiling impactful narratives. With a demonstrated history of hosting radio shows, web TV programs, contributing to esteemed publications, and steering digital media platforms, she stands as a notable figure in the field. Connect with her on Twitter @SaddiaMazhar. She can be contacted at thesaddia@gmail.com
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