Islamabad: The Punjab Information Commission (PIC) on Monday, May 15, 2023, heard the complaint against Sahiwal Club, with regards to journalist Saddia Mazhar’s request for information.
Secretary of Sahiwal Club, Mian Anjum Habib, submitted a written apology for using illegal and inappropriate language in response to the journalist’s request.
During the hearing, Habib admitted that the objectionable expression attributing the commission of an offense was illegal and based on ill advice, and was therefore withdrawn and duly regretted.
The PIC order stated that the “brazenness” of the Secretary and President/Commissioner Sahiwal was evident, as the patently illegal statement was forwarded to the Commission without any fear of accountability.
The Commission accepted the regret and disposed of the matter with a warning to remain careful in the future and to extend due respect for the fundamental right to information of citizens, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
The PIC further emphasized that RTI Law makes public functionaries responsive to citizens and subjects them to public accountability through “transparency”.
Sahiwal Club also shared the requested information with journalist Saddia Mazhar, which will be reported soon in exclusive stories.
It is important to note that the Club had previously stated that Mazhar’s act constituted an offense punishable under S.182 of the Pakistan Penal Code, and requested the Commission to file a complaint against her.
Saddia Mazhar have welcomed the PIC’s decision and stated that the Sahiwal Club’s apology and the PIC’s decision with a warning send a strong message to public officials that they must respect the fundamental rights of citizens and promote transparency and accountability in their dealings.
She added that the incident highlights the importance of the RTI Law in Pakistan and the role of journalists and citizens in holding public officials accountable. It is essential that citizens are aware of their right to information and the process for obtaining information from government institutions to promote transparency and accountability in the country.
Earlier, the Punjab Information Commission issued an order on the case of Abdullah Malik and Others vs Lahore Gymkhana Club, held that the Club is a public body under the RTI Act and is obligated to provide information to citizens. This order was upheld by the Lahore High Court.
Similarly, in the case of Nadeem Umer vs Islamabad Club, the Pakistan Information Commission also declared the Club as a public body under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.
Source: The Reporters
The post Sahiwal Club Apologizes to Journalist Sadia Mazhar for Inappropriate Statement first appeared on Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF).