Gazette notifications of Army Act, Secrets Law issued after controversy

Liaquat Ali

Islamabad: Hours after President Arif Alvi denied singing two pivotal bills, the gazette notifications of Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023, becoming law have been issued.

According to details, the gazette notifications were dated August 18 (Friday).

The notification stated that the acts – forwarded by Majlis-e-Shoora [Parliament] – were “deemed to have been assented by President Dr Arif Alvi”.

The bills were published as laws in the Gazette of Pakistan and were dated August 18, 2023.

Earlier in the day, President Arif Alvi denied signing Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and Pakistan Army Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023 as he “disagreed with these laws”.

In a post on social media platform X, Alvi said: “As God is my witness, I did not sign Official Secrets Amendment Bill, 2023 and Pakistan Army Amendment Bill, 2023 as I disagreed with these laws.”

The president said he asked his staff to return the bills unsigned within the stipulated time to make them “ineffective”.

“I confirmed from them many times that whether they have been returned and 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 Insha’Allah. But I ask forgiveness from those who will be affected,” the president said.

According to ARY News report, President Arif Alvi on August 19 [Saturday] signed the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and Pakistan Army Act (Amendment) Bill 2023.

Both the bills were passed by the parliament during the tenure of the coalition government and were sent to President Alvi for ratification.