A day after President Dr Arif Alvi’s allegation that his staff “undermined his will and command” regarding his assent to the Official Secrets Act and the Pakistan Army Act, the President’s Secretariat said the services of Secretary to President Waqar Ahmed were “no more required” and sought a replacement. “In view of the definite statement of yesterday (Sunday), President’s Secretariat has written a letter to Principal Secretary to Prime Minister that the services of Mr. Waqar Ahmed, Secretary to President, are no more required and are surrendered to the Establishment Division, immediately,” said a statement posted on the President of Pakistan’s official account on X (formerly Twitter). “It has also been desired that Ms. Humaira Ahmed, a BPS-22 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service, may be posted as Secretary to the President,” the statement added. A day earlier, the president revealed that he had not signed the two bills, triggering a massive controversy in the country. “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,” President Alvi had said on X. “I asked my staff to return the bills unsigned within stipulated time to make them ineffective. I confirmed from them many times that whether they have been returned & 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 IA. But I ask forgiveness from those who will be effected,” he had added. The unprecedented claims made by the president opened the floodgates of claims and counter-claims, prompting a weekend presser by the caretaker ministers for law and information, as well as a barrage of recriminations from the former ruling party, PTI. Hours after President Alvi’s statement, a gazette notification issued by the Senate Secretariat surfaced, stating that the two bills were “deemed to have been assented by the president”. According to the notification, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was deemed to have been approved by the president with effect from August 17 and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023 from August 11. Section 6-A of the secrets act creates a new offence of unauthorised disclosure of the identities of members of intelligence agencies, informants or sources. The offence would be punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine of up to Rs10 million. The Army Act paves the way for the punishment of up to five-year rigorous imprisonment to any person guilty of disclosing any information, acquired in an official capacity that is or may be prejudicial to the security and interest of Pakistan or the armed forces. One of the amendments in the act accords more powers to the army chief and barred ex-servicemen from engaging in politics as well as taking up ventures, which could come into conflict with the army’s interest. It also proposed imprisonment for defamation of the army. The new law also forbids any person subject to the army act from engaging in any kind of political activity for two years from the date of their “retirement, release, resignation, discharge, removal or dismissal from the service.