Thursday May 30, 2024

Senate can hold inquiry against President Alvi: Raza Rabbani

"President is part of the parliament under Article 50 of the Constitution and should appear before a Senate committee," says PPP leader

By Amin Anwar
August 21, 2023
Senator Raza Rabbani. —APP/File
 Senator Raza Rabbani. —APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Senator Raza Rabbani on Monday said that Senate can probe into President Arif Alvi's statement that officials at the presidency "undermined" his command.

The former Senate chairman pointed out that the president should appear before a committee of the upper house since under Article 50 of the Constitution he is part of parliament.

The controversy erupted after President Alvi made a startling revelation on Sunday, saying he had refused to sign into law two bills that would give authorities more power to prosecute people for acts against the state and military, a move the law ministry said was unconstitutional.

"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," the president said on his personal social media account — a move that triggered a debate on the interpretation of Article 75.

He said he had asked his staff to return the bills unsigned to the legislature within the stipulated time to make them ineffective.

"However I have found out today that my staff undermined my will and command," the president added.

Speaking on the matter at the Sindh High Court today, Rabbani — himself a legal expert — said that Alvi's tweet was inappropriate.

“The president is the head of the state, he could have returned the bills constitutionally under Article 75, the way he sent other bills.”

“Neither did he want to sign the bills nor did he want to give his observation on them. What’s this?”

The veteran politician said that the president is part of the parliament under Article 50 of the Constitution and should appear before a Senate committee.

The officers involved in this should appear there, he said, adding this committee should investigate and dig out the real facts.

“If it is proved that the president has made a false statement, then action can be initiated against him according to the law.”

When asked about the status of these bills, Rabbani responded, “It is not yet clear whether the president has signed it or not. On the one hand, he is saying that he did not sign and at the same time he is also apologising to those who would be affected.”

Article 75 of the Constitution is very clear in this matter, he said.

“Anything can happen during the current circumstances, said the PPP leader when asked what if the president says that he did not post the statement.

Rabbani added that Alvi’s term is ending on September 9 and an inquiry can be launched against him by the Senate.

“If the Senate body comes to a conclusion that President Alvi made a false statement then action should be taken against him.”

However, the issue of the president's impeachment is different, but the Senate can conduct an inquiry, he said.