Amid ‘I didn’t clear bills’ row, Pakistan President Arif Alvi sacks secretary

Pakistan President Arif Alvi sacked his secretary Waqar Ahmed on Monday amid the controversy about the signing of two critical bills made to clear his name, reported news agency PTI quoting media reports.

According to the report, Alvi sacked his secretary Ahmed and asked for the replacement of Secretary Ahmed, whose services were ‘no more required’.

Alvi sacked his secretary a day after he said he did not personally sign the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023. He had also instructed his staff to return them unsigned within the stipulated time to make them ineffective.

As per Dawn’s report, Ahmed’s removal is being seen as a punishment for his alleged impudence.

Meanwhile, Ahmed called Ahmed’s removal from the post ‘not based on justice’ and, in a letter, asked Alvi to reconsider his decision to remove the secretary from his post.

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He also requested the president to investigate the matter through the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or any other agency to uncover any misconduct, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

“I want to set the record straight that I am not responsible for any irregularities regarding the bills,” the former secretary stated in the confidential letter.

Claiming the documents about the bills are still present within the presidential chambers., Ahmed stated, “The decision to surrender my services isn’t based on justice.”

Until 21 August, the files related to the Pakistan Army Act (Amendment) Bill were not returned to the secretary’s office, said Ahmed.

He stressed that if any wrongdoing is proven, those responsible should be held accountable, Ahmed said, “I am prepared to testify before the Supreme Court or any other court. I will present a record to establish my innocence.”

Ahmed clarified that the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023, was received by the Presidency on 8 August after the official hours, adding that it was forwarded to the president on 9 August. “The President is fully aware of the facts surrounding both bills,” he said.

As per Article 75 of the Constitution, the president has to approve a bill within ten days, and under the same provision, he can send back a bill to the Parliament for reconsideration within the same amount of days.

Speaking on the controversy, former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif said in London that an official inquiry should be launched into the incident ‘to determine facts through a transparent probe’.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Babar Awan, in a video message, requested Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to take suo moto action.

With agency inputs.


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Updated: 22 Aug 2023, 02:29 PM IST

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