Right to Information

PIC takes Suo-Moto Notice of DC Narowal misbehaviour

RAWALPINDI: Punjab Information Commission has taken Suo Moto notice of the humiliating response of Deputy Commissioner Narowal to journalists’ queries regarding the ratio of the women’s own land in the district.

According to details, Female journalist Saba Chaudhery on June 07, visited DC Narowal Office and requested the DC to provide data about women’s property ownership in the district. However, DC Imtiaz denied provision of the requested information and alleged that many NGOs that remained involved in terrorism related activities use such tactics to get personal information of people. He maintained that only those NGOs that are registered with Home Department could collect data of citizens.

Civil society activists had lamented the humiliating response of DC Narowal on social media, after which the Punjab Information Commission on Friday has taken Suo Moto notice and directed the Public Information Officer of DC Narowal Office to appear before the Commission on June 15, 2022.

PIC order states that since the episode took place within the domain of Punjab Information Commission, it is, forced to take Suo Moto Notice under Section 6(1) of the RTI Act, 2013 about an act that put a slur on the most cherished fundamental right to information guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan.

PIC maintains that the episode is likely to cause disappointment and misconception in the public mind discouraging the civil society from freely exercising their fundamental right known as RTI in matters of Public Importance.

PIC order further states, it appears that the lady/requester desired to just get the numerical data or percentage of proprietary rights of women as against men purportedly to conduct a survey or develop a story which is most appropriate use of RTI law.

There is no ground of highly objectionable remarks based on personal perception of DC Narowal. We are at loss to find any co-relation with the inquisitive RTI request ant the remarks of DC Narowal, PIC observed.

PIC directed the PIO designated for DC Narowal Office to appear before the Commission on June 15, 2022 to satisfy the implementation of mandatory responsibilities under the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2013.

It is also directed that PIO may contact Ms. Saba and take all possible steps to respond to her RTI request and submit a progress report before Commission.

Nadeem Tanoli

Nadeem Tanoli is a seasoned journalist and a member of the National Press Club. With over a decade of experience, he has contributed to various Urdu and English newspapers. Recognized for his dedication to transparency and accountability, he is a recipient of the Right to Information Champion Award. For inquiries, he can be reached at nadeemumer6@gmail.com.
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