Court Backs Ombudsman, Limits Pakistan’s President

3 February 2016

A court in Pakistan has ruled that the president may not overrule the federal ombudsman in right to information cases, Umar Cheema reports in The News and Sohail Sarfraz writes in the Business Recorder.

The Lahore High Court set aside a presidential decision in favor of the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR).

“The verdict had surprised many besides bringing to light the encroachment of authority by the president for over 14 years,” wrote Cheema. “The Freedom of Information Ordinance was promulgated in 2002, and the president has been deciding representations in the cases pertaining to the RTI applications since then without having any jurisdiction to do so,” Cheema explained.

The case was brought by Waheed Shehzad, who had been refused information regarding recommendations, issued by the Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee by the FBR. He successfully appealed to the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), but the FTO’s decision was set aside by the president on appeal by the FBR.

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