Despite reservations, IC starts sharing members’ data with PITB

ISLAMABAD: Despite serious concerns voiced by its members and intervention by the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), the administration of Islamabad Club has started sharing members’ data with the third party, Daily Times has learnt.

Sources disclosed that the senior administration of the club in a meeting had categorically decided to share the data of its members with the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB).

Sources added that the meeting was attended by all departments’ heads of the club and a director of PITB, Saima R Shaikh. The Islamabad Club has 28 internal departments.

He said that some participants of the meeting also resisted the move. However, they agreed to the proposal later.

“While complying with meeting findings, so for the Club had shared data of its few members with the PITB,” said an official privy to the matter, who wished not to be quoted.

Earlier, according to the available documents, the club administration had planned to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the PITB without permission of the enlisted members. The members have termed the move illegal as well as unethical and against an individual’s right to privacy.

The PITB is an autonomous organisation working under the administrative control of the Punjab government and provides IT services and infrastructure to the government and local as well as international business concerns.

The Islamabad Club has around 7,000 active members and 400 applications are on the waiting list. The club charges Rs 1.5 million from private individuals and Rs 300,000 from government officers as membership fee.

The club has a complete profile of each member, including their CNICs, bank account details, annual income details, profession, house addresses, office addresses and nature of job and even details of family members.

Sources added that the record also includes data of members that belong to civilian and military bureaucracy, diplomatic community and corporate business.

An official said that many individuals, including club officials, presidency and PITB, have their personal interests behind this strategy.

When the club management sought opinion from its legal adviser, he also termed the plan a violation of fundamental rights.

“Data provided by members of the club to the management is private information sharing of which with an outside agency constitutes violation of right to privacy enshrined in Article 14 of the constitution, which takes precedence over any domestic law. A special law (Data Protection Act, 2005) in this behalf was moved in parliament in 2005 which is pending approval,” legal advisor Afzal Siddiqi told the administration in his opinion.

“The crux of the matter is that any data provided by any class of persons to any organisation is peculiar to that situation and cannot be shared with any outside agency except with the approval of the provider (member),” Siddiqi informed the club administration.

“There is no law in the country, which obligates the Islamabad Club to reveal private information and certainly the members are oblivious to this MoU, its purport, scope and necessity,” he said.

Former Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) secretary Nargis Ghallo, who is ex-officio member of the club, also wrote a letter to the club administration (a copy of which is available with Daily Times) and sought club administration’s comments till December 6, 2017.

However, practically nothing has been done to comply with the law.

Under the Islamabad Club Ordinance, 1978, the president of Pakistan is patron-in-chief of the club. The club is purely an autonomous entity while the CADD is responsible for issuing notifications to the club administration as per instructions of the president after the passage of 18th Amendment.

Islamabad Club Administrator Shahid Khan said that the PITB should be consulted in this regard.

When contacted PITB Chairman Dr Umer Saif, he said: “We have inked a MoU with Islamabad Club to prepare a complain management system (CMS).”

“After preparation, we will simply hand over CMS to the club management and there is no need to involve members’ data in entire process,” he added.

Published in Daily Times, January 22nd 2018.