President chose to ‘discredit’ own officials: law ministry on signature controversy

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President Arif Alvi. — PID/File
President Arif Alvi. — PID/File
  • President Alvi purposely delayed the assent, says law ministry. 
  • Article 75 does not provide for any third option, it further states.
  • “I asked my staff to return the bills unsigned within stipulated time.”  

Reacting to President Arif Alvi’s recent post on X, previously known as Twitter, the Ministry of Law and Justice on Sunday said that the head of the state had chosen to discredit his own officials.

Earlier today, the president denied signing Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023, claiming that his staff “undermined” his orders.

“As God is my witness, I did not sign Official Secrets Amendment Bill 2023 & Pakistan Army Amendment Bill 2023 as I disagreed with these laws,” President Alvi said on X.

“I asked my staff to return the bills unsigned within stipulated time to make them ineffective. I confirmed from them many times that whether they have been returned & 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 IA. But I ask forgiveness from those who will be effected,” he added.

In a statement, a spokesperson of the law ministry said, “It is a matter of concern that the president has chosen to discredit his own officials.”

He also said that the president should take responsibility for “his own actions”.

“As per Article 75 of the Constitution, when a bill is sent for assent, the president has two options: either give assent, or refer the matter to the parliament with specific observations. Article 75 does not provide for any third option,” read the statement.

In the instant matter, the ministry said neither of the requirements was fulfilled. Instead, the president purposely delayed the assent, it added.

Returning the bills without any observations or assent is not provided for in the Constitution, the spokesperson said, adding that such a course of action is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

“If the president had any observations, he could have returned the bills with his observations like he did in the recent and distant past. He could have also issued a press release to that effect,” the law ministry said. 



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