PML-N, PPP ask Alvi to step down

PML-N, PPP ask Alvi to step down

Khayam Abbasi / DNA

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Sunday demanded President Arif Alvi’s resignation after the head of the state denied signing two crucial bills related to the army and secrets laws.

In a startling turn of events, President Alvi said he did not sign the bills amending the Official Secrets Act and the Pakistan Army Act into law as he “disagreed with these laws”.

Alvi, in a post on social media platform X formerly known as Twitter, said he had asked his office staff to return the bills unsigned within the stipulated time to make them “uneffective”.

“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 effected,” the president said.

On Saturday, it was reported that President Alvi has signed the Official Secrets Act and the Army Act Amendment Bill approved by the National Assembly and the Senate, after which both bills became law.

Soon after the law passed, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was booked in the cipher case. The party’s senior leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi was arrested from his residence in the evening, and today sources reported that Asad Umar had been apprehended in connection to the case.

In response, PPP spokesperson Faisal Karim Kundi termed the incident “unfortunate” and lamented that the president issued an apology “24 hours after it was reported on the media that he did”.

“I believe that such a person is not fit to remain in the presidency. This person does not know what’s happening. He does not even know who has bypassed him,” the PPP leader said.

In a statement, PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman said the development raises questions about Alvi’s ability to continue as the president.

“Is he trying to say that someone else signed the bills under from under his nose,” Rehman wondered, saying that if that’s the case, then the president should resign.

In a post on X, PML-N leader and former finance minister Ishaq Dar termed Alvi’s statement “unbelievable”, calling for his resignation.

“Minimum morality warrants Alvi sb to resign, having failed to run his office effectively, efficiently and as per Rules of Business,” the finance minister, whose government’s term came to an end earlier this month said.