ISLAMABAD: Despite the directions of Sindh Information Commission (SIC), the Sindh Police is reluctant to make release information regarding police encounters in Sindh.
On September 06 last, Citizen Syed Raza Ali filed an information request to the Inspector General of Sindh Police requesting information regarding police encounters that had taken place in Sindh since January 2018.
He has also asked for information regarding the number of people murdered during these encounters, policemen who lost their lives during encounters, and details of the department’s actions in response to the applications for an investigation submitted by the victim’s family.
The lack of response from the Office of the Inspector General of Sindh Police forced Mr. Raza to approach the Sindh Information Commission in order to obtain the requested data.
In response to the applicant’s request, the Sindh Information Commission has directed the Superintendent of Police (Complaints), Central Police Office Karachi, to provide requested information within 7 working days.
The order authored by the Information Commissioner, Mr. Shahid Abbas Jatoi further states that in case the requisite information is not provided to the complainant the Commission shall be restrained to take action under Section 15 of the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2016.
SIC order states that the Access to Information from public bodies is a fundamental right of citizens guaranteed under Article 19/A of the Constitution of Pakistan, The Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2016 also provides that every citizen may exercise the right to acquire information or record held by any public body.
The Public Information Officer of Sindh Police was also directed to appear before the Commission on October 27, 2022.
When contacted, Mr. Shahid Jatoi, Information Commissioner – SIC, informed that no one appeared before the Commission to represent Sindh Police in the hearing held on October 27, 2022.
He added that SIC will summon the PIO, Sindh Police and will take measures to ensure the implementation of its order and provision of the information to the citizens.
Mr. Raza while talking with “The Reporters” expressed satisfaction over the performance of the SIC. He said, SIC remained almost dysfunction for many years, the new team of the Information Commissioners are effectively dealing with the complaints received to the Commission which is a good sign.
He maintained that Right to Information is a new thing for the Sindh’s bureaucracy and like other parts of the country in the beginning they will resist to implement this law but hopeful SIC will protect the constitutional right of the citizen.