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Did not sign newly 'passed' laws, says Pakistan President Arif Alvi

The president tweeted that he asked his staff to return the bills unsigned within the stipulated time to make them ineffective

Arif Alvi, Pak President

Photo: Twitter @arifalvi

ANI Asia

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Pakistan media reported that the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023 were passed and became laws on Sunday after President Arif Alvi signed the bills, but President Alvi said on X that he did not sign the bills as he disagreed with the laws.
"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 affected," Pakistan President Arif Alvi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The president tweeted that he asked his staff to return the bills unsigned within the stipulated time to make them ineffective.
He said that he confirmed from his staff times if the bills have been returned and he was assured that they were.
"However, I have found out today that my staff undermined my will and command," the Pakistan President lamented.
After the approval from the National Assembly, both bills were presented in the Senate. The treasury members criticised the bills, after which the Senate chairman referred the bills to the standing committee, the Express Tribune reported.
Later, some controversial clauses of the two bills were taken out and the bills were re-presented in the Senate. After approval, they were sent to President Alvi for his signature, about which the president claimed that he did not sign the bills.
According to the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, a person will be guilty of an offence if he intentionally creates a problem of public order or acts against the state, the Express Tribune reported.
In addition, if a person attacks or damages a prohibited place and the purpose of this is to directly or indirectly benefit the enemy, then it is also punishable.
Under the said amendment bill, the accused will be tried in a special court and a decision will be taken after completing the hearing within 30 days.
The Army Act has provisions relating to the retirement of military personnel, the Express Tribune reported.
According to this law, no military personnel will be able to participate in any political activity for two years after retirement, resignation or dismissal, while military personnel or officers performing duties related to the sensitive nature of duty shall not participate in political activities for five years after termination of service.
A retired army officer found guilty of violating the Army Act will be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to two years. Also, if any serving or retired army personnel scandalises or ridicules the army on digital or social media, he will be punished under the Electronic Crimes Act, the Express Tribune reported.
According to the said law, any serving or retired officer who causes defamation of the army or spreads hatred against it will be punished with imprisonment of two years and a fine under the Army Act.

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First Published: Aug 20 2023 | 4:10 PM IST

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