The Punjab Chief Minister’s (CM) office has denied giving out the information about the vehicles under the use of CM Usman Buzdar, claiming it ‘legitimate privacy’.

Under the transparency law, such information cannot be shared, the office said in a reply to a query submitted by a lawyer.

Abdullah Malik, a lawyer, had sent the query to the CM office earlier this year invoking the rights to the citizens under the law.

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The office took nine months to answer him and refused to share copies of the logbooks (containing details of the official vehicles’ use).
Section 13 (i)(b) of Punjab Transparency & Right to Information Act 2013 reads, “A public information officer may refuse an application for access to information where disclosure of the information shall or is likely to cause harm to a legitimate privacy interest unless the person concerned has consented to disclosure of the information.”

According to Dawn, Advocate Usama Khawar Ghumman revealed that Buzdar was using vehicles that were funded by taxes. Moreover, he said the logbooks could reveal misuse of the official vehicles by government officer’s families. These logbooks can also reveal if the vehicles used by the officials fall under their name or not. The denial of information about the vehicles is plainly illegal and unconstitutional.

Earlier, the federal government denied giving out information about the exchange of gifts between Prime Minister Imran Khan and other heads of state.

In the notice, it is mentioned that the matter is reflective of inter-state relations and the disclosure of such information potentially damages the interest of Pakistan in the context of international relations.