9th May Terrorism - Criminals must be dealt with iron hand

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By Afshain Afzal

Official Spokesperson of Pakistan Army, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Ahmad Sharif Chaudhry at a press conference on Monday, 26 June 2023, disclosed that Pakistan Army completed two departmental inquiries under the President-ship of two Major Generals. The worthy General, without mentioning names and appointments of criminal officers revealed that over 200 military installation were attacked and in a self accountability process, that in the process, 3 officers including a Lieutenant General were dismissed from service, 15 officers including 2 Major Generals and 7 Brigadiers were punished for strict disciplinary action while a retired four Star General’s niece, his son in law, a retired Three Star General’s wife and a retired 2 Star’s wife and his son in law are under trial.

If we recall, in the second week of June 2023, the National Security Committee (NSC) had given green signal to the decision of the corps commanders to try the anti-state elements who were involved in causing dent to national sovereignty and integrity, degrading our Armed Forces and security and prestige of sensitive installations on 9 May 2023. However, probably by mistakenly, Major General Ahmad Sharif Chaudhry mentioned that Civil Courts have allowed Pakistan Army to carry out trial of 102 terrorists under Army Act Standing Army Courts. This was part of 13619 small, or big intelligence based operations in which 1172 terrorists were killed or arrested. He added that in 77 Joint Operations carried out this year, 59 officer and Jawans were martyred. No dout, this had no relevance or connection with 9 May’s breaches of security and injuring the reputation of Pakistan.

The Pakistan Section 2 of Army Act, 1952, Act XXXIX of 1952, "(iii) claiming or are known to belong to any terrorist group or organization using the name of religion or a sect; and (a) raise arms or wage war against Pakistan, or attack the Armed Forces of Pakistan or law enforcement agencies, or attack any civil or military installations in Pakistan; and (e) provide or receive funding from any foreign or local source for the illegal activities under this clause. The question arises that there were thousands of people in each city who voiced against Pakistan Army and damaged image of Pakistan after violation Section 141 “Unlawful assembly” of Pakistan Penal Code and Section 129 “Use of military force”, 131 A “Power to use military force for public security and maintenance of law and order”of Code of Criminal Procedure 1898.

After Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2022 and changes in Pakistan Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 to take action against those who intentionally ridicule armed forces, Section 500-A states: “Punishment for intentional ridiculing of the Armed Forces etc. Whosoever intentionally ridicules, brings into disrepute or defames the Armed Forces of Pakistan or a member thereof, he shall be guilty of offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or fine which may extend to five hundred thousand rupees, or with both.”

The Army Act, 1952, Act XXXIX of 195 provides, “The Federal Government shall have the power to transfer any proceedings in respect of any person who is accused of any offence falling under sub-clause (iii) or sub-clause (iv) of clause (d) of sub-section (1), pending in any court for a trial under this Act.”

In the Press Conference of 26 June 2023, Major General Ahmad Sharif Chaudhry said that the plot was in progress since months and after 9 May incident these violent groups tarnished the image of Pakistan Army in which social media inside Pakistan and abroad was used. Under the Official Secret Act, Army Act, 1952, Pakistan Penal Code 1960, Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 and other laws those behind 9 May incident were criminals and terrorists. It is high time media campaign may be initiated to collect the pictures and voice recordings of all the criminals involved in 9th May terrorism. And irrespective that they are from influential families, high-ranking serving or retired officers or their sons and daughters, they must be given exemplary punishment. More so, vetting of the Armed Forces and Civil Servants must be revamped so that such anti-state elements cannot get inducted in services of Pakistan.

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