In a startling turn of events, President Arif Alvi said on Sunday that he did not sign the bills amending the Official Secrets Act and the Pakistan Army Act into law as he “disagreed with these laws”. He alleged that his staff “undermined” his will and command.
In a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Alvi said: “As God is my witness, I did not sign Official Secrets Amendment Bill, 2023 and Pakistan Army Amendment Bill, 2023 as I disagreed with these laws.”
The president said he asked his staff to return the bills unsigned within the stipulated time to make them “uneffective”.
“I confirmed from them many times that whether they have been returned and was assured that they were. However, I have found out today that my staff undermined my will and command. As Allah knows all, He will forgive Insha’Allah. But I ask forgiveness from those who will be affected,” the president said.
So far, the President House has not released a statement.
According to a Dawn report, Alvi had given his assent to the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023 on Saturday, allowing the pieces of proposed legislation to become acts of Parliament.
However, in light of the president’s remarks, the current legal status of the bills remains unclear.
Both the bills were approved by the Senate and National Assembly and sent to the president for his approval amid criticism by opposition lawmakers a few weeks ago.