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Saturday, April 20, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

Alvi has admitted that bills are legal, made statement under PTI pressure: Siddiqui

Former PM aide says Alvi will gain nothing by staying on his seat

Amid the ongoing debate about President Arif Alvi’s statement about denying assent to Official Secrets Act and Army Act, Irfan Siddiqui has said that the president has basically admitted his mistake.

Speaking to Asma Shirazi in Faisla Aap Ka, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob said that there is no doubt that the law is in effect since it has been notified and has even been uploaded to the government’s websites.

He added that the president had perhaps considered it fate accompli and tweeted the matter out when he realised that the law would lead to people being affected.

Regarding the removal of the president’s secretary, Mehboob said that just like the president the bureaucrat was also held in esteem wo the right thing to do was an investigation. He said that both the Senate committee, as suggested by Raza Rabbani, as well as the Supreme Court could be a platform for it.

He questioned that if the president had done no wrong, why was he apologising.

Mehboob said that the President House spent more money and had more staff compared to the Prime Minister House, and Alvi should have been able to put his observations and objections in writing.

He also said that the president did not have the power to veto any laws but could record his objections. He added that simply asking for the laws to be sent back was not enough.

Irfan Siddiqui said that even small offices had a system on which they operated and the President Office did not run things haphazardly through word of mouth.

He added that the President House had another department headed by a person equal in rank to judge who was responsible for scrutiny of bills sent to the president.

Siddiqui also recounted an incident when he received a call at midnight from the PM House. A prisoner’s death sentence was about to be carried out but both parties in the case had reached an agreement. However, the prisoner’s life could not be saved without then President Mamnoon Hussain’s will.

He said that when he called the president he was given verbal orders to put the matter on hold for 24 hours if he was satisfied.

Siddiqui said that the president wanted to have his cake and eat it too, by approving the law so he did not offend anyone but also protecting his political capital. He added that if Alvi wrote the tweet he could have written objections on the bill as well.

Mehboob said that the tweet had conveyed an image to the world that there was no system in the country. He said both the president’s verbal order and theri defiance by his staff showed that there was no procedure being followed.

He also echoed Siddiqui to say that Alvi’s statement could have possibly been motivated by seeing arrests of his party’s leaders. However, he added that the way to settle things was still through an investigation.

Siddiqui said that Alvi’s post had been self-explanatory. He said that he had never seen a public office holder under so much pressure that he had to swear in the name of God.

He said that the question remained that if the president had objections it was easier to write them on the bill instead of the post. He said that asking for forgiveness indicated that the president knew he had committed a mistake.

Regarding what pressures Alvi could have faced, Siddiqui said the pressure had built up as soon as the bills landed on his table. He said Alvi was torn between accepting the bill, which could land his leader in jail, and realising that the bills had come from the parliament and were needed.

He said that the pressure intensified after Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood and Asad Umar were arrested. He said that the pressure on social media might have led him to make the tweet.

Siddiqui also said that dismissing an officer would not help Alvi in gaining the stature he had lost through the matter.

Regarding resignation, he said that if Alvi had admitted his mistake a rectification would be in order. He added that if Alvi stayed on his seat, Pakistan would be the loser

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