Islamabad: Pakistan Information Commission, in order to ensure the constitutional right of citizens to access information, has summoned Vice Chancellor Air University Javaid Ahmed to appear before the commission along with the case record on October 18.
“In exercise of the powers vested in this commission, you [Vice Chancellor] are summoned to appear before the Commission or through your PIO / designated officer (not below the rank of BS-19) to represent your department / public body at the time of hearing,” the summon stated, warning that: “Failure to attend the hearing will result in Ex-Parte decision and the responsible will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Act.”
“Two copies of the case record each page duly attested in the above cited appeal, be produced before the Information Commission at the time of hearing,” it concluded.
Under the Right for Access to Information Act 2017, all public bodies at federal level are bound to provide the requested information to citizens of Pakistan within ten working days whereas the Commission can exercise the powers of civil court to issue summons for witnesses or records. If an official is found guilty, the Commission also holds the power to impose penalties, including fine and imprisonment for up to two years. Similarly, destroying any record is a punishable offense according to the said law.
The citizen in his application took the stance that he had submitted a request letter to the Air University, a federally chartered public sector university, on 30th August under the Right of Access to Information Act 2017. “Regrettably, despite several follow ups and lapse of time period (more than 24 working days), the requested information was not provided yet,” he stated.
After the necessary examination of the complaint and evidences received, Pakistan Information Commission has fixed the regular hearing on October 18 at 11:30 AM.