Right to Information

PIC Directs SBP to Publicize List of Top 1000 Loan Defaulters

Islamabad: The Pakistan Information Commission has issued a directive to the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to disclose the list of the top 1000 loan defaulters in response to an information request filed by Azmat Khan, a resident of Karachi.

Khan had sought the list under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017. In response, the State Bank of Pakistan requested an exemption from disclosing the information under Section 7(d) of the Act, which relates to the records of banking companies and financial institutions concerning their customers’ accounts.

The Commission thoroughly examined the information request, the written reply from the SBP, and the relevant law. The Commission’s order clarified that Section 7(d) of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017, which exempts certain records from disclosure, does not apply to the requested list of loan defaulters.

“It is an admitted fact that 1000 individuals obtained loans from the concerned banks and failed to repay them, causing significant financial damage to both the country and the banks involved. Such individuals cannot be protected from disclosure,” stated the Commission.

The Commission observed that the exemption cited by the SBP does not pertain to this case. Consequently, the plea of the public body has been rejected. The Governor of the SBP has been directed to disclose the required information and submit it to the Commission within 10 days. Failure to comply will result in the initiation of proceedings against the responsible parties under Section 20(f) of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.

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