Sindh govt put on notice over PTI petition seeking probe reports release

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday sought a reply from the provincial government over a petition seeking the release of three key inquiry reports into Baldia Factory fire, Nisar Morai’s involvement in murder of former Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) chairperson Sajjad Hussain and political backing to notorious Lyari gang-war head Uzair Baloch.

The court was hearing the petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Karachi President Ali Zaidi.

The petitioner has adopted a stance that the Sindh Government is bound under the law to provide the required information to the public, since it is a matter of public interest.

During the court proceedings, Zaidi’s counsel Umar Soomro contended that the key Joint Investigation Team (JIT) reports should be available to public for greater and a transparent accountability of culprits.

Invoking Right to Information Act, the counsel said that the constitution has granted the fundamental right to the citizens to have access to information under Article 19(A).

Hearing the arguments, the court issued a notice to the provincial government, seeking reply in the matter till October 25.

It is worth mentioning here that upper house of the parliament in August this year passed the much-demanded access to information bill, which grants citizens access to the record of public authorities.

Under the ‘Right of Access to Information Act 2017’ there will be no access to the official record of armed forces, defence installations, details of individuals’ bank accounts, defence and national security. But information regarding defence-related commercial and welfare activities can be accessed.

Any Pakistani citizen can make a request for seeking information regarding public offices by paying some amount, which will be fixed later. The principal officer in these departments will have to provide the applicant with the relevant information within three to 10 days.

Last month, Lahore High Court (LHC) had announced a verdict in favour of the petitioner demanding release of the report of Model Town incident, which claimed 14 lives of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) activists.