Tazeen Akhtar

At a time when the 5th largest nation of the world , Islamic Republic of Pakistan is passing through a very delicate phase of its history, another constitutional , political turmoil has surfaced with the tweet issued by none other than the President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi. He has distanced himself from the two extremely important bills that are related to the security of the state.

The President tweeted “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. 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.”
Article 75 of the constitution, regarding the conduct of President reads that if the President returns a bill passed and sent by the parliament, he writes his objections in black and white and the return is documented in the official record of the Presidency. The parliament approves again and sends back again, and the President does not sign , the bill will become act of the parliament automatically.
President Arif Alvi has shared no evidence about the documentation of his objection and return to the parliament. Only a few days ago, it was open in the media that the President has returned many bills without his signature/consent but the two above mentioned bills were not included in those bills.
Here main question is these two bills are act now or not? Army Act was sent to the President on 2 Aug and Official Secret Act was sent on 8 Aug. President can keep the bills for 10 days. National Assembly was dissolved on 09 Aug. It means both bills were not returned to the parliament before 09 Aug. The constitution is silent on that if the President does not return the bill in 10 days and Parliament is not intact to again approve it and send again to the President, what will be the status of the bill?
Here the law experts say that even then the bill will become act. It clears that the President deliberately played a trick, not signing the bills but also not sending back only to let them become acts and at the same time reserve the opportunity to distance himself from the most controversial bills at his own selected proper time only to be a Martyr by the powerful, the Military.
Now when Arif Alvi has taken a stance on the two mentioned bills, neither he has any proof nor he has taken any action against the staff whom he holds responsible for not only disobedience but forging his signatures as well. The bills are related to the security of the state and the military , it means he is blaming especially the military secretary of the President. On other side , the President has not taken any action against the concerned staff.
It is clear that the President is afraid of two things : 1- Strong reaction from his own party PTI as the chairman Imran and former FM Shah Mehmood Qureshy have been arrested already on the matter of cypher leak to the public and the press. 2- He fears his own arrest when he completes his tenure next month. He is already accused of PTV attack case in 2014. The case is pending only because he is president. Few months ago , he appeared in the court to express his loyalty to the law of the land.
There is no evidence, nether the President presented with the tweet nor the concerned authorities have found anywhere in the way from and to the Parliament and the Presidency. Everything is done written and recorded in official works and there is no recorded thing in this matter.
Political observers see it as if the President has lost justification to remain at the Presidency. Question is how the President can be ousted ? Impeachment is not possible because Parliament is not intact. Dr Alvi will resign himself? President is supposed to move the Supreme Court on the two bills where CJP Bindyal is present. CJP remarked the next day of the tweet by the President ” I shall do justice in the case of Imran Khan.”
If the President does not leave on his own, there will be another crisis in the country and this crisis can be the first in the history of Pakistan. The two bills became acts or not? What is the status of these acts now according to which PTI workers, Chairman Imran Khan and SMQ are arrested and facing trials.
Dr Arif Alvi has put the nation into highly difficult situation when the nation is already in a fix about what is the future of this state? Caretakers have just assumed and the elections are supposed to be delayed for undefined time.The President of Pakistan , when he has only few days in the Presidency , he has thrown Pakistan into the Mother of all Turmoils of Pakistani History.




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