Punishment on espionage charges

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Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has endorsed the sentences of two retired senior army officers and a civilian on charges of espionage. According to media report, Lieutenant General (r) Javed Iqbal, Brigadier (r) Raja Rizwan and Dr Wasim Akram, an employee at a sensitive organisation, were convicted of espionage activities and leaking sensitive information to foreign spy agencies. Retired Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal awarded 14 years rigorous imprisonment, Retired Brigadier Raja Rizwan awarded death sentence and Doctor Wasim Akram awarded death sentence. The ISPR statement did not contain any further details of the offences committed by the three convicts. However, it released a previous video statement of ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor confirming the arrest of the two officers and their court-marital. “Reports are circulating in the media that two senior army officers are under arrest. Yes they are. There are two officers who are under military custody on the charges of espionage,” he confirms in the video. “The army chief has ordered a field general court martial which is under process. Both are separate cases and not linked to one another in any way and there is no network as such,” he said. A senior military told media that military officers of all ranks are accountable without any discrimination. Accountability of former ISI chief Lt Gen (r) Asad Durrani was also part of this across-the-board accountability process, he maintained. According to statistics shared by the official, some 400 officers of various ranks have been given various punishments, including reprimand, warning, caution, salary-cut, dismissal from service, and even imprisonment, during the last two years. It was unfortunate that these high level officers violated oath and they were involved in leaking sensitive information. They betrayed the country and committed treason. Pakistan Army has set a good example that no one is above the law and everyone will have to face accountability if he or she will involve in crimes. It is believed that harsh punishment will give strong message that such black sheep cannot escape from the strict monitoring system of security institutions. It will be also helpful to counter such heinous offensives in future.