Keep a lid on secrets, govt tells officials

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Annoyed with the surfacing of corruption scandals against the government in independent media, the federal government has barred its officials from sharing premature information with any news or media agency. According to an official letter issued by the Establishment Division on July 2, the government officials have been directed not to share premature information with the media, as it brought embarrassment for the government.
The letter warned of stern action against officials who were found violating the government directions under Government Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules 1973. According to the letter, sharing premature information is violation of Government Services Act (clause 18 and 22). However, it is not the first time that the government has expressed concerns over media access to information. Justice Tariq Mehmood said it could be an attempt by the government to control leakage of information by government servants to the media, as several reports published based on such information forced the Supreme Court to take suo motu notices.
“On the other hand, there are conduct rules for the government servants under which actions could be initiated against them … But, I do not know about the exact status of clause 18 and 22, as usually we (lawyers) do not come across such cases,” he said. Senator Pervez Rashid of the PML-N said instead of issuing such letters, the government should abstain from such practices that need to remain hidden.