Letting the Snakes Out

(Sadia Qazi, )

Every jungle has a snake and every realm a traitor. In history great empires were brought to their knees not much by external forces but by the betrayal of its own trust worthies. The defence gets weaker ifit’sstricken from the inside. Pakistan has been in the war for nearly two decades and alongside keeping its borders fortified, it’s challenging and engaging the internal miscreants who have been targeting the peace and stability of the country. And in this pursuit, Pakistan Army has sacrificed many sons a day. That’s the ultimate price we have paid for our freedom and peace.

Despite the many relentless efforts exerted by the enemies of Pakistan to destabilize the country and create anarchy, Pakistan has proved to be a resilient state. With strengthening resolve of the Pakistan Armed Forces, its state-of-the-war-art tactics and bravery on the battlefield backed by the support of Pakistani citizens have pushed the wave of terrorism out of its threshold and gave peace a chance, after many years of struggle.

This resilience and this accomplishment havethwarted the enemy and they shifted their attention to incapacitate the kernel of power for this nation; that is the undeterred Armed Forces and the strong bond these Armed Forces have with the citizens of Pakistan. The recent news making the headlines of the Army personals being convicted for espionage came as a surprisingly shocking. Planting a mole or exploiting a weaklink has always been a manoeuvre for Intel gathering.In Feb, 2019 ISPR in a press conference revealed the on-going investigation against two senior officers on account of espionage. After thorough investigations duringcustody, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) endorsed punishment to two Army officers and one civilian later in May this year.

The gaudy endorsement of the conviction gave the message loud and clear that there is zero tolerance on national security. It was also an exhibit of full mode accountability in the Armed Services which not only proceeded with the accountability process with a thorough trial but also a swift and appropriate verdict was delivered. This action from the COAS has not only cemented that action speaks louder than words but also brought the perspective in black and white that any sort of lineage will not be rendered to those who try to harm the national security. As per the press release by ISPR, Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal (Retired) is awarded 14 years’ rigorous imprisonment,whereas death sentence was given to Brigadier Raja Rizwan (Retired) and Doctor Wasim Akram (a civilian employed at Sensitive Organization) in separate cases on account of sharing sensitive information to foreign Intelagencies thus defying their oaths.

Espionage, trading national secrets is a major crime andit istreachery to the nation. Social media and instant connectivity has made the information more vulnerable and sharing channels more efficient. This incident has proved the vigilance and alertness of the Intelligence Agencies of Pakistan which are not only constantly keeping tabs on the internal and external enemies but are also regularly screening for moles with in the institution.

The trial and the verdict by the COAS is being apprehended with admiration from all houses but it puts a big question mark if this exemplary action will be reciprocated across the board for all institutions,unanimously? It is no secret that Pakistan Armed Forces have been stringent in dealing with corruption of all sorts and defying of oath is a grave offense punishable by death penalty. But there have been instances of national security in the past where apt response and due penalty was flouted and matter not taken up austerely as it should have been. But is Pakistan ready to deal with national security issues with the same lens?

Dawn leaks still remains a controversial issue where many sources claim that the real culprits may not have been penalized as yet and the doers of the orders were run under the bus. However, the matter was not dealt with spontaneously and Pakistan Army had to pursue the matter for formation ofany sort of outcome atall. But definition of national security issues and how they are dealt with in the civilians is a little obscure. Time and again we have witnessed someone chanting anti-state statements only to mark political score. But when these apparently harmless or shallow words are not dealt with, they poison many others creating confusion.

A recent example of PTM in this regard is significantly vital. Starting as a political movement to address the issues of the Pashtuns to being aggressive and attacking military check-post for release of the captured terrorist facilitator and receiving finances from international intelligence agencies makes it vital to form the policy and implementation roadmap to impose the national security as a priority. The moles are not only planted in the Army, but they are in every influencing field where they can infest the environment and wane the forte of Pakistan. Its time the civil community band together to identity and cater to these elements amongst them.

The Govt office bearers and the politicians are obligated to safeguard the national interest as they have taken an oath and are bound to this oath in and out of the office. But time and again we have witnessed these high office bearers defying their oaths and dribbling National secrets or speaking against the National interests at a public or international forum even if it is ourex-Prime Minister accepting the Mumbai Attacks before the Indians themselves knew and later discovered to be their inside job or playing sorry to the Indians for the Kargil war, no one is above the law when disloyalty is the offence.

Speaking against Pakistan and Pakistan Army goes against the interests of National Security playing right in the hands of the enemies. The clashes of interests provokethe anti-state elements to influence the masses with creating confusion by presenting them an unrealistic envisaged conspiracy theory. Naïve and less informed amongst the masses actually believe these theories and ultimately will indulge in hate speech against the establishment or defy the writ of state. Freedom of speech is a basic right but this freedom comes with great responsibility. Be it a political issue or a criminal case, everyone is answerable to the court, law and the public but it has become a norm to drag uniform and malign the forces of Pakistan to cover up their crimes and distract general public from the real issues. It is compulsory to exhibit that state will not endure any such hideous acts,baseless accusations and foreign sponsored conspiracy theories and will regard it as an act of war against the state. This applies to each and every citizen of Pakistan, disregard of their professional attachments.

It is time that these elements amongst us are un-masked and investigated. All facilitators and sponsors of the terrorists and anti-state agents are checked and dealt as per the law and no leniency is accepted for anyone. We are, if Pakistan is. And there can never be any compromise on National Security and every citizen of Pakistan is a sentinel of this sovereignty and independence. Pakistan Army has nipped the snake amongst their ranks and set an example. This ball is now in the court of civilian establishment to let the snakes up their sleeves see the light of dayand face a just trial.

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