President Alvi refuses ratifying army, secrets legislation

What Happened with Pakistan’s Army and Official Secrets Amendments That President Alvi Denied and How to Make Sense of the Political Upheaval That Followed


Not only did Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi not sign the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023, but he also did not sign the Official Secrets Amendments Bill, 2023, as he publicly declared on the microblogging platform X (previously known as Twitter). This news has caused quite a stir and has shown some serious fault lines in Pakistan’s political system.

First, the President’s Rejection and Responsibility for His Staff:

President Alvi said he asked his staff to return the two legislation without his signature within the allotted time since he strongly disagreed with them. He voiced his disappointment that his team had disobeyed him and his authority. This confession calls into doubt the presidential administration’s authority and responsibility.

The President’s Extraordinary Proclamation:

The president’s announcement that he will not be personally signing the bills is unprecedented and has received widespread media attention. The proposals’ contentious nature stems from their focus on touchy topics like national security and the military.

Third, the PTI’s response and serious worries:

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has issued a statement expressing grave worry over the president’s comments on Official Secrets Amendments . His actions were shocking and unprecedented, the party said, and they revealed deep-seated problems and mistrust in the state’s administrative structure. The public response from PTI demonstrates the seriousness of the problem and its potential consequences.

Contents of Contentious Bills:

Leaking classified information about the military or national security will result in a prison sentence of up to five years under the Pakistan Army Official Secrets Amendments Bill, 2023. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would have the authority to probe possible offenders thanks to the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023. The President has rejected measures that would have strengthened national security and protected individual liberties.

Timeline and procedure for legislative approval:

Despite objections from the government and the opposition, the National Assembly enacted the laws. Both the Senate and the National Assembly passed the laws, and now they’re going to the president for his signature. The approval procedure and timetable shed light on the legislative process and the chain of events that culminated in the president’s veto.

Importance of the President’s Rejection:

If the president does not sign the bills into law within the ten-day constitutional window, they will be null and void. If the president does not sign the measure within the allotted period, it automatically becomes law under the Constitution. The fate of the rejected amendments and the parliamentary process as a whole are now open questions.

Revisions to the Official Secrets Act and the Army Act:

The revisions to the Army Act Official Secrets (Amendment) include penalties for both active and retired officers who leak information detrimental to Pakistan’s security or the armed services. The new Official Secrets Act provides the FIA with investigative authority and reduces penalties for some violations. These changes affect intelligence gathering, national security, and personal freedoms.

Consequences for Openness and Good Governance

The president’s admission and denial have shed light on problems with governance, transparency, and accountability in Pakistan’s governmental machinery. What happened demonstrates the importance of strong channels of communication, strict obedience to commands, and accountability measures at the highest levels of government.


Conflicting statements from President Alvi about whether or not he signed the revisions to the Pakistan Army and Official Secrets (Amendment) have thrown the country into political instability. This occurrence prompts serious reflection on the presidency, the balance of power in the government, and the protection of individual liberties in the face of national security threats. As the nation deals with the aftermath of this incident, it is becoming clear that the future route of government and transparency will require cautious navigation.

President Alvi refuses ratifying army, secrets legislation
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