Information Commissioner directs PTA to share SCO’s license details

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PTA to share telecom infrastructure provider license details with SCO

The information commissioner has directed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to share details of the telecom infrastructure provider license (TIPL) for the state-owned telecom company Special Communications Organi­sa­tion (SCO) maximum by August 25,

The decision was made in response to an appeal Mohammad Ahmed filed against the PTA under the Right of Access to Information Act of 2017 in order to obtain information about the licenses given to the SCO.

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Before this, the PTA denied the request because the applicant was connected to Nayatel, an internet service provider.

After hearings, Chief Information Commissioner Mohammad Azam determined that a company had the legal right to request such public information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act because the law’s goals were to increase public participation in government affairs, reduce corruption and inefficiencies, and advance economic growth and good governance.

The SCO was founded in 1976 to develop, run, and maintain all telecom services in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir under the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom.

The information commission ordered the PTA to make public the minutes of its meeting in which the final decision to grant SCO a Telecommunication Infrastructure Providers License was made in 2014 as well as the specifics of the PTA’s 2019 decision.

The order of the information commission stated that “the minutes of the official meetings are exempt from disclosures under the RTI Act only if a final decision has not been taken on the issue being deliberated upon in the official meeting. Once the final decision has been taken, the minutes of the meeting becomes public information, unless hit by any of the exempted clauses of the RTI Act.”

It added that the details sought from the PTA did not fall in the exempted category.

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