Pakistan: Journalist denied info about PM receiving gifts from foreign, Rights panel expressed concerns

Islamabad, Pakistan: The Pakistan government could not give insight to the gifts received by Pakistan prime Minister when asked by a senior journalist. On the other hand, the journalist has been blocked by the Cabinmate Division on the grounds of such information id classified.

According to The News International, senior journalist Rana Abrar Khalid requested information on gifts received by the Imran Khan from foreign governments.

“This contravenes the Right to Information Act 2017. We have also received credible reports that Khalid may be under surveillance by state agencies, including an underhand attempt to enter his house on a false pretext, allegedly in connection with his RTI matter. We are now seriously concerned for his personal safety. This continuing pattern of harassing journalists and suppressing what is rightfully public information must cease immediately,” The News International quoted the HRCP statement.

In September, the Pakistan government was reluctant to disclose the information pertaining to the gifts Khan had received since he assumed power in 2018.

Earlier, Dawn reported that the country’s cabinet division had challenged the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) order seeking details of the gifts presented to Khan since August 2018. However, the cabinet division claimed that the PIC order was “illegal, without lawful authority”. This came after the PIC had directed the cabinet division to “provide the requested information about the gifts received by Imran Khan from foreign head of states, head of governments and other foreign dignitaries”.

The cabinet division did not accept the PIC request noting that the matter did not fall within the ambit of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017. It also said that releasing the information related to Toshakhana could jeopardise international ties.

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