As of today, August 21 (IANS), a special court has been established in Islamabad by Pakistan’s caretaker government to hear the crucial Cipher case against former Prime Minister Imran Khan, former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and his associates, as well as any other cases in which charges are framed under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and the Army Act of 1952.All cases filed under the two Acts would be tried at the Judicial Complex in Islamabad, presided over by Judge Abdul Hasnat of Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Court Number 1.
In a statement, President Arif Alvi explained that the Prime Minister’s Office staff had undermined his demand and gone against his directive to return the bill to Parliament, so he had to veto two amendment bills (the Army Act Amendment Bill 2023 and the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill 2023) that had previously been approved.
Official Secrets Amendment Bill 2023 and Pakistan Army Amendment Bill 2023: “As God is my witness, I did not sign these bills because I strongly disagree with them. I requested that the invoices be returned unsigned by the due date in order to render them useless. I asked them again whether they’d gotten back their belongings, and each time they told me that they had. Unfortunately, I learned today that some of my employees have been working to undermine my authority. Allah would forgive IA because He is all-knowing. However, I beg pardon from those who may be adversely affected,” the President said in a tweet.
The tweet from Alvi came a day after it was said that he had given his blessing to both proposals.
These events have sparked yet another conspiracy theory, with many people raising doubts about President Alvi’s motivations and wondering whether he deliberately disregarded the authority of his position in order to demonstrate his support for Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
As one commenter put it, “It’s shocking to see how President Alvi, who is not only the head of the state, he is also the commander in chief of the Pakistan armed forces, has presented himself as powerless, helpless, and extremely weak.” political analyst Javed siddique remarked.
Legal scholars disagree on how to interpret the President’s authority and the processes for receiving and responding to legislation delivered to him by Congress.
According to Article 75 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the President may do one of two things. After the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed a measure, it goes to the President for signature. “He has 10 days to either sign off on the bill and give his assent, or return it with a letter explaining his objections and asking for a rehearing,” said Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmed Khokhar, an attorney before Pakistan’s highest court.
“If the President does not respond within the stipulated time, and he does not assent nor does he return the bill with his recommendations, it is deemed to have been assented and becomes a law,” he said.
The attorney said that a joint session of Parliament would be convened to evaluate the President’s suggestions and re-pass the measure by majority vote if the President returned the legislation unsigned and with his recommendations.
If the measure passes in the joint session, it must be delivered to the president within 10 days to be signed into law.
The President has 10 days to offer his consent after the vote in a joint session. If the measure is not vetoed by the end of the day, Ahsaan said it will be considered to have been signed into law.
However, some prominent attorneys argue that two key revisions should not be considered assented since the President has not signed them nor returned them with suggestions.
If the president receives legislation but does not sign them or return them within the allotted time, they are not considered to have been assented during the first stage. If the president refuses to sign the legislation, “the parliament must convene a joint session and approve the same bills again and send them back for assent,” said prominent lawyer Salman Akram Raja.
It has been said by political observers that President Alvi has opened a new Pandora’s Box, resulting in intense examination of his own staff and administration.
President Alvi has jeopardized his personal integrity, brought disrepute upon his office, and jeopardized his status as head of state. Instead of reprimanding his employees for their behavior and claimed defiance of his instructions, he took the matter to Twitter. This is quite unusual,” renowned journalist Shahzeb Khanzada said.
In the Cipher case, Khan and Qureshi are being prosecuted under the Army Act and the Official Secrets Act for allegedly mishandling and disclosing classified information about a meeting between American diplomat Donald Lu and Pakistan’s then-Ambassador Asad Majeed. The former premier used the information to promote his narrative of a US-led regime change against his government.