President Alvi signs Army, Official Secrets Acts into law

President Alvi signs Army, Official Secrets Acts into law

President Alvi signs Army, Official Secrets Acts into law

President Alvi signs Army, Official Secrets Acts into law

  • Both bills had passed by both houses of parliament.
  • Were later sent by previous government to Arif Alvi for singing.

President Dr Arif Alvi has given his approval to the Official Secrets and Pakistan Army amendment bills, officially making them into laws.


These bills had been previously ratified by both the Senate and National Assembly. The prior government had forwarded these bills to the president after their approval in both parliamentary houses.

Notably, the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023, underwent a significant change before being passed by the National Assembly, as the contentious provision allowing intelligence agencies to arrest individuals without a warrant was removed.

The bill now stipulates a potential prison sentence of up to three years for those who reveal the identities of intelligence agency members, informants, or sources.

The amendments to the Official Secrets Act involve several key changes:

  1. Unauthorised Disclosure of Identities (Section 6-A):
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This amendment introduces a new offense related to unauthorized disclosure of intelligence agency members, informants, or sources’ identities. Those found guilty could face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to Rs10 million.

  1. Definition of “Enemy” (Section 8-A):

A new definition of “enemy” is added to the act. It encompasses individuals or entities, whether intentionally or unintentionally, working for or with foreign powers, agents, non-state actors, etc., engaged in actions harmful to Pakistan’s interests and safety.

  1. Attempts or Incitement to Offences (Section 9):

This amendment replaces the existing section and criminalizes incitement, conspiracy, aiding, abetting, or attempting offenses under the act. Penalties for these actions mirror those of the actual underlying offense.

  1. Investigations (Section 12-A):
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A new section outlines investigation procedures, specifying that the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) officers would conduct the investigations. The FIA director general can establish a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) for act-related cases, with a requirement to complete investigations within 30 working days.

  1. Admissibility of Collected Material (Section 12-B):

Another new section deems all material gathered during act-related inquiries or investigations admissible in court. This includes electronic devices, data, documents, or any material facilitating the act’s commission.


Additionally, a sub-section (2A) of Section 11 was removed. This section previously granted Intelligence Agencies the power to enter and search individuals or places without a warrant, potentially using force, to seize items that could be evidence of an offense under the act or suspected of being involved in such an offense.

The Army Act amendment entails the following provisions:

  1. If someone, in an official capacity, reveals information obtained for Pakistan’s security and interest without authorization, they could face rigorous imprisonment for a maximum of five years.
  2. Disclosure permitted by the army chief or authorized officer won’t be penalized.
  3. Those divulging information against Pakistan’s interest and the army will face consequences under the Official Secrets Act and Army Act.
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  5. Engaging in political activities is prohibited under the Act. This restriction applies until two years after retirement, resignation, or dismissal from service. Sensitive-duty personnel are banned from political activity for five years.
  6. Violation of political activity bans may lead to severe punishment lasting up to two years.
  7. If an individual under the Army Act commits an electronic crime aimed at defaming the Pakistan Army, they will be dealt with under the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act.
  8. Defamation or inciting hatred against the army can result in imprisonment of up to two years and fines.
  9. Those revealing secrets connected to national security may face imprisonment of up to five years.
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