Right to Information

PIC Orders Disclosure of Trade Organization Renewal Information

Islamabad: In a landmark decision, the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) has upheld the right of an individual to access information regarding the renewal of licenses for various trade organizations. The decision comes after an appeal filed by an individual who was initially denied access to this information by the Directorate General of Trade Organizations (DGTO).

The appellant had requested copies of renewed licenses, renewal dates, and compliance documents for several trade organizations. The DGTO initially denied the request, claiming the information was not disclosable to non-members.

However, the PIC ruled that the DGTO, as a regulatory authority, is obligated to disclose information on licenses granted under Section 6 (c) of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017. The Commission directed the DGTO to provide the appellant with copies of the renewed licenses and details of the renewal dates.

The decision also addressed the disclosure of other requested information. The PIC directed the appellant to approach the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for copies of corporate compliance certificates, as the DGTO is not the issuing authority. Information regarding the compliance status of a specific chamber was deemed adequately addressed by the DGTO’s response.

The request for audited financial statements was denied as it pertains to third-party information and is exempted from disclosure under the Act. Similarly, information submitted by the Pakistan Aluminum Utensils Manufacturers Association was also deemed exempted.

However, the PIC did order the DGTO to disclose copies of approvals and internal notes related to the license renewal process. The Commission clarified that while internal notes are generally exempted, they lose that exemption once a final decision is made.

This decision by the PIC reinforces transparency in the licensing process for trade organizations. It ensures citizens have access to important information about the regulatory framework governing these entities.

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