Alvi removes president’s secretary Waqar Ahmed

Seeks services of Humaira Ahmed for the post n Outgoing secy claims president neither assented nor rejected bills



ISLAMABAD  -  Following the contro­versy over the sign­ing of two bills by the president – the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Pa­kistan Army (Amend­ment) Bill, 2023 - the President secretari­at on Monday removed Secretary to the Presi­dent Waqar Ahmed on the directives of Pres­ident Dr Arif Alvi, and asked the government for the appointment of another senior officer for this post.

President Arif Alvi on Sunday last had hinted that his staff was alleged­ly involved in a situation in which he believed that on his directives the staff did not return these two important bills.

"In view of the defi­nite statement of yes­terday, the President's Secretariat has writ­ten a letter to the Prin­cipal Secretary to the Prime Minister that the services of Waqar Ahmed, Secretary to the President, are no longer required and are surrendered to the Es­tablishment Division, immediately," a short communiqué from the President said.

The letter written by the President Of­fice said that it has also been desired that Hu­maira Ahmed, a BPS-22 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service, may be posted as Sec­retary to the President.

In another develop­ment, President Arif Alvi contacted some senior PTI leaders and informed them that he was under pressure to resign and wanted their advice.

Credible sources told The Na­tion that PTI assured the Pres­ident that it stands with him in the present crisis and he should not step down.

President Alvi also told the PTI leaders that he would like to visit PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the prison and seek his guidance on the latest situation including the option of resig­nation. President Alvi also con­sulted his legal team on the next course of action on the situation he was facing including an op­tion to approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The controversy over these important bills emerged the other day when President Alvi on his personal social media on X (formerly known as Twitter) account claimed that he didn’t sign the Pakistan Army Act Amendment and Official Secret Act Amendment Bills.

However, this prompted the Federal Ministry of Law to issue immediate clarification which said, “The Ministry of Law & Justice has noted with grave concern the President’s recent tweet.” It said, “As per Article 75 of the Constitution, when a bill is sent for assent, the President has two options: either give as­sent, or refer the matter to the parliament with specific obser­vations. Article 75 does not pro­vide for any third option”.

It further said that in the in­stant matter, neither of the re­quirements was fulfilled.

The statement said, instead, the President purposely de­layed the assent. 

It further said that returning the bills without any observa­tions or assent is not provided for in the Constitution. 

The statement mentioned such a course of action is against the letter and spirit of the Con­stitution. “Had the President any observations, he could have returned the bills with his ob­servations like he did in the re­cent and distant past,” the min­istry said and asserted that he could have also issued a press release to that effect.

Soon after his removal, out­going Secretary to the Presi­dent Waqar Ahmed said that the president neither gave his assent to the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Pakistan Army (Amend­ment) Bill, 2023 nor did he in­form in writing of returning the bills back to parliament for re­consideration.

In a letter sent to the presi­dent, Waqar Ahmed stated that the Pakistan Army (Amend­ment) Bill was received on Au­gust 2 and sent to the president on August 3.

President Alvi, he added, had the 10-day time to advise on the bill till August 11.

“The Honourable President neither assented to the Bill nor gave a written decision for re­turning the Bill for reconsid­eration by the Parliament. The said file has not been returned to the Office of Secretary to date i.e. 21.08-2023,” the letter stat­ed. Meanwhile, the Official Se­crets (Amendment) Bill was received on August 8 and was moved to the president’s office on August 9.

“It was clearly stated in the Note that the Prime Minister’s advice was received on 08-08-2023 and time of 10 days will be completed on 17.08.2023 (Thursday),” the letter also stat­ed. However, the letter added that the president neither as­sented to the bill nor gave a written decision for returning the bill for reconsideration by parliament.

The secretary further said that he “neither delayed above mentioned two bills nor com­mitted any irregularity or neg­ligence”. He added that the files of the bills are still lying in the President’s Office as of today (August 21).

He said that the president’s decision for the surrender of his services is not based on justice.

“I request that the Honour­able President may kindly order an inquiry by FIA (Federal In­vestigation Agency) or any oth­er Agency to probe the facts and fix the responsibility for any lapse if committed by any offi­cer or official,” he said.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt