Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Sunday claimed that he had refused to give his approval to the new national security laws that critics say will grant draconian powers to the country’s military intelligence agency.

Alvi wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that he did not sign the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

“I disagreed with these laws,” said Alvi, who is a member of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which opposes the coalition government that passed the two bills.

He claimed that his staff “undermined” his orders and failed to return the unsigned bills to the legislature within the stipulated timeframe.

According to the Constitution, if the president does not sign a draft bill or return it with his objections or specific observations within 10 days after it has been passed by both houses of Pakistan’s Parliament, then it will become law.

“As Allah knows all, he will forgive IA [Insha Allah],” the president said in his post on Sunday. “But I ask forgiveness from those who will be affected.”

The Official Secrets Act recommends a three-year prison term and a penalty of up to Rs 10 million on anyone found guilty of disclosing the identity of an intelligence official, The Dawn reported.

The Army Act recommends five-year imprisonment for both currently serving and retired officers found guilty of taking part in politics or disclosing sensitive information.

At a press conference on Sunday, Interim Law Minister Ahmad Irfan Aslam told reporters that the Army Bill was sent to the office of the president on August 2 while the Official Secrets Bill was sent on August 8, PTI news agency reported.

He said the president could have recorded his observations within 10 days as he did on several occasions previously.

The law ministry said that Alvi should “take responsibility for his own actions”.

The ministry said it was a matter of concern that the president chose to discredit his own officials.