Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi stated on Sunday that he will not sign two measures into law that would give police wider authority to punish people for crimes against the state and military, a move that the law ministry called illegal.
Both chambers of Pakistan’s parliament have previously passed the measures, but Alvi is a member of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which opposes the coalition government that passed the bills.
“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,” Alvi said on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
He said he had asked his staff to return the bills unsigned to the legislature within the stipulated time to make them ineffective.
“However I have found out today that my staff undermined my will and command,” he said.
The ministry of law and justice said the president’s decision was of “grave concern”.
“The President has two options: either give assent, or refer the matter to the parliament with specific observations” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the president had not fulfilled either option. “Such a course of action is against the letter and spirit of the constitution,” it said.
According to constitution, if the president doesn’t sign a draft bill or return it back with his observations or objections within 10 days after it has already been through the two houses it will become law.