Caretakers rebuff claims

Published August 21, 2023
Int­erim Law Minister Ahmed Irfan Aslam and Infor­mation Minister Mur­taza Solangi address a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday. — Photo courtesy PID
Int­erim Law Minister Ahmed Irfan Aslam and Infor­mation Minister Mur­taza Solangi address a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday. — Photo courtesy PID

ISLAMABAD: In a joint press conference called after President Alvi made startling claims about two recently adopted laws, int­erim Law Minister Ahmed Irfan Aslam and Infor­mation Minister Mur­taza Solangi rebuffed the president’s stance that he was unaware whether the bills had been returned or not.

Giving their legal and constitutional position on the two bills, Mr Aslam said the government had not received any of the two bills from the presidency, and thus both have become law.

“Under Article 75 of the Constitution, the president only has two options: either to sign a bill or reject it; in case of rejection, he has to give reasons for returning the bills unsigned,” he said, adding that if the president does not avail any of the two options, a bill becomes a law after the lapse of ten days.

According to the interim law minister, the president had not exercised these options and kept the bills pending at the Presidency, which meant that after the passage of 10 days, they automatically became laws.

He said that in the past, President Alvi had availed one of the two options, but there was no precedent for blocking any of the bills by leaving them unsigned for ten days.

Information Minister Solangi, while replying to a question, ruled out any action against the president. “The sanctity and respect of the president’s office do not allow us to make any such move. No action can be taken against him till he is in his office,” the minister added.

“Returning the bills without any observations or assent is not provided for in the Constitution. Such a course of action is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution,” the law minister added.

Mr Solangi also clarified that the presser was held to remove the ambiguity created by the statements of the president.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2023

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