Topsy-turvy political scenario with legal challenges

ISLAMABAD   -  The fast changing political panorama in Pakistan will continue to remain topsy-turvy as no dull day in politics is expected till the next general elections.

A controversy has re­cently arisen about the signature of the Pres­ident over the bills to make an ‘act of parlia­ment’. The legal and constitutional debate mostly reached a con­clusion that both the bills have become an ‘act of parliament’ and will be affected as per the law of the country. Though this legal debate is almost over, yet some doubts erupted about challenging the law if it would be implement­ed in future. Some political and constitutional brains viewed that obviously a debate can again be initi­ated once any big politi­cal personality is charged under these laws. With the start of the controver­sy about the President’s signature on the bill seek­ing amendments to ‘Offi­cial Secrets Act’, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PTI] has hinted to challenge it at any stage. Whereas, some senior legal experts believed that challeng­ing the act of parliament will not prove fruitful as ‘the success of challeng­ing is the main test’. “The bill was properly made act of parliament. It was only a dispute between the President and staff and nothing more than that,” said former attorney gen­eral Ashtar Ausaf shar­ing his comment with this newspaper. It may also be worthy to note here that the proposed amend­ments in the bill, during the legislative process, had sparked controver­sy which even led to pro­tests from various parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fa­zl (JUI-F), and the National Party on it. Some of the se­nior lawmakers strongly opposed the content of the bill but it sailed through from both the houses. This act of parliament is aimed to amend the existing Offi­cial Secrets Act of 1923 in light of the changing social landscape, with the prima­ry goal of ensuring the safe­ty and security of official documents. It may be men­tioned here that President Alvi denied signing the Official Secrets (Amend­ment) Bill, 2023, claiming that his staff “undermined” his orders. “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,” President Alvi said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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