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May 31, 2019

Espionage, information leakage: Death for brigadier, life for ex-general

Top Story

May 31, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has endorsed punishment to two army and one civil officer on charges of espionage and leakage of sensitive information to foreign agencies prejudicial to the national security.

Lieutenant General (retd) Javed Iqbal Awan was awarded 14 years rigorous imprisonment by the Field General Court Martial (FCGM). The FGCM also awarded death sentence to Brigadier (retd) Raja Rizwan and Dr Wasim Akram, who was employed at a sensitive organisation.

The officers were tried under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and Official Secret Act by Field General Court Martial (FCGM) in separate cases, the ISPR said on Thursday. Lieutenant General (retd) Javed Iqbal Awan remained Corps Commander Bahawalpur, Adjutant General of Pakistan Army and Director General Military Operations.

Director General ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, while addressing a news conference in the last week of February, had confirmed that two senior officers were in military custody on charges of espionage and that the COAS had also ordered their Field General Court Martial. He also told media persons that the retired army officers were arrested in individual cases, there was no link between them and also there was no network working. “It should also be kept in mind that the issue was identified and it was a big success,” he said.

“The disposal of cases today by the COAS is testimony of strict across-the-board accountability system of armed forces. These were three separate cases. Punishment awarded to the officers is of maximum degree in the law corresponding to their respective offence,” the DG ISPR said in a statement on Thursday.

In recent past, Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani, former ISI chief, also faced court martial for writing a book jointly with an ex-RAW chief. Two other senior officers Lt Gen (R) M Afzal and Major General Khalid Zahid Akhtar also faced court martial in NLC scandal which involves investment of over Rs4 billion in stock market.

Defence analysts say that in the last little over two years, around 400 military officers faced court martial and they were awarded different punishments which also include dismissal from service. Other punishments include reprimand, warning, caution, reduction in privileges, cut in salaries etc. Military officers from every rank are included in the list.

The analysts said the real accountability is that which is visible to all. They said whatever has been said, has also been acted upon. They said the military officers from every rank come under the ambit of accountability. They said the accountability of Lt Gen (R) Asad Durrani was also made under similar policy. They said the policy of ‘accountability for all’ will also be followed in letter and spirit in future.