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  • Writer's pictureSaleem Qamar Butt

No Mercy for Traitors

Pakistan's military sentenced one army officer to death and another to 14 years "rigorous imprisonment" for espionage and leaking sensitive information to foreign spy agencies as was announced on Thursday, 20th May 2019. Pakistan's army chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa, confirmed the death sentences for retired Brigadier Raja Rizwan and Wasim Akram, a physician employed at a "sensitive organization", the military's media wing said in a statement. The second officer, Lieutenant-General Javed Iqbal, was jailed for 14 years. The three men were tried under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secret Act. According to ISPR, "Both are individual cases that have no link between them and there is no network as such”. "Please keep in mind that if we have been able to get them and identify the issue, it is a success."

While one feels greatly alarmed on the level of espionage that hostile intelligence agencies have been able to successfully accomplish through sustained efforts at various tiers, it is also sad to see known fellows falling prey to the lure that brought them to face the gallows. However, the bold decision dispensing transparent and quick justice to the culprits has been largely appreciated by the people of Pakistan as a great precedence set by the Army that ought to be emulated by our national judicial system that remains choked due to a host of reasons, non much sustainable or insoluble though.

According to American English a Traitor is, “a person who gives away or sells secrets of his or her country, or someone who is not loyal to particular beliefs or friends” and as per Merriam Webster, “one who commits treason” is a traitor. It is a proven reality that most of our civilians employed on sensitive jobs and military personnel employed on foreign courses and other assignments as well as our diplomats both home and abroad remain target of hostile intelligence agencies. All such people are regularly briefed, sensitized and made to read and sign Official Secret Act on monthly basis; yet someone falling in trap cannot be ruled out due to the kind of tactics and the quantum of incentives offered. No Army can afford to have double agents working in any of its organ as Trojan horse, therefore an efficient counter intelligence and military justice system has to remain up to the mark that just proved its worth. Army has shown no mercy for proven Traitors through comprehensive investigation by professional national prime intelligence agencies and hard core loyal officers. Pakistan Army chief leading lion hearted men has taken a very brave and upright decision by giving exemplary punishment to the turncoats that would not only send a chill down the spine of all those with shifted loyalties on any count as well as serve well to force the ilk to go in hide outs with their ill gotten wealth. It is also expected that the user intelligence agencies would get maximum pressure applied on Pakistan to get the culprits off the hook (e.g. Raymond Davis, Dr. Shakil Afridi, Kulbashan Jadhev, and Surbajeet Singh); nevertheless, enviable zero tolerance demonstrated by the Army is not only expected to remain intact but also expand vertically and horizontally to take cleansing operation to the logical end.

Pakistan is being subjected to a Hybrid or 5th generation warfare, which is neither visible to air-conditioned cocooned armchair pseudo scholars nor to the corrupt elite, while the ignorant masses are bee busy in earning their two meals a day with great labour. It is astonishing to see the swarms of rented crowds accompanying the under investigation, under trial and even punished corrupt politicians who are challenging the courts, threatening and exploiting judges, openly meeting anti-state elements known for their foreign nexus like PTM and instigating them to attack Pakistan Army and other law enforcement agencies to plunge the country back in to chaos, confusion, poor law and order situation. Thus disturbing the peace and stability in the country and especially in former tribal areas that has been won by most resilient nation and brave Pakistan Armed Forces at a very heavy cost i.e. almost 80000 civil & military casualties, more than US $ 120 billion economic loss and beyond any measure socio-psychological damage during the last 18 arduous years. The pandemonium observed in the parliament in support of the ruffians who attacked military posts and killed soldiers in Waziristan ostensibly on their behest besides their foreign sponsors is obviously an attempt to challenge the writ of the Government with the hope that it might get them reprieve on extreme corruption cases in the courts. Needless to say, that these act of treasons are as much punishable as the offence committed by three above stated persons who got maximum dose of punishment. Here I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln, who said, “Congressmen who wilfully take action during wartime that damages morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hung”.

Pakistan is facing unusual challenges from both outside as well as inside. Government has to find out of box solutions but weak writ of the government is bound to be catastrophic. ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ is rather too aptly said about Pakistani judicial system, which has to deliver as demonstrated by military courts. Zero tolerance for anti state elements irrespective of the masks they wear in any walk of life in Pakistan, needs to be demonstrated by the government without any fear. Mr. Prime Minister must understand that “A traitor only becomes one if their plot is discovered. The imposition of guilt means nothing to those who feign loyalty. More skilled conspirators wield treason as a clinical tool of regime change and political expediency. Then, writing history with their own hands, such traitors may wear the clothes of patriots.” Stewart Stafford

1st June 2019

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