Time to keep an eye

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 By Afshain Afzal

Last month Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff, Syed Asim Munir vowed to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country through “unabated” military operations against militants. They all are, in one way or the other, involved in activities in violation of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, including inciting sedition among army personnel from discharge of duties and creating hatred against their command. Today in an electronic and digital environmental domain, social media and various other methods and techniques through apps have replaced past methods of communication and activities.

In another development, some weeks back, Major (Retired) Adil Farooq Raja and Captain (Retired) Haider Raza Mehdi were sentenced 14 and 12 years of rigorous imprisonment respectively through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 on the charges of inciting sedition among army personnel from the discharge of duties and violation of the provisions of Official Secrets Act, 1923 related to espionage and acts prejudicial to the safety and interest of the State. There are many other personnel like them who are still serving in the Pakistan Army as commissioned officers and personnel or have retired prematurely after completing colour service. These individuals are spies working for foreign governments.

As regards to the Pakistani Armed Forces and other government departments, it is the duty of every Pakistani to furnish information to the Police about deserters and those who without official permission are employees of foreign governments in Pakistan and abroad. It is law in Pakistan that Armed Forces personnel who have deserted or joined foreign governments' diplomatic or counsellor representatives including their information, public relations, trade or commercial agency, service or foundation established or maintained by any such government or by any person who is a national of the foreign country required to be immediately arrested, even by an ordinary citizen of Pakistan. Such individuals are not only criminals in the eyes of the law but have breached national trust and are enemies of Pakistan. We need to know our law that any person who apprehends or who furnishes information, which leads to the apprehension of a combatant, including a reservist, or non-combatant who is in the state of desertion or absent without leave from the Army and who does not surrender himself voluntarily will receive a reward.

Section 9 of the Pakistan Penal Court criminalizes, “Attempts, incitements, etc” as “Any person who incites to commit, conspires to commit, attempts to commit, aids or abets the commission of an offence shall be guilty of an offence”. Similarly, Section 10 provides a penalty for harbouring spies, “If any person knowingly harbours any person whom he knows or has reasonable grounds for supposing to be a person who is about to commit or who has committed an offence under section 3 or under section 3 read with section 9 or knowingly permits to meet or assemble in any premises in his occupation or under his control any such persons, he shall be guilty of an offence under this section.

Para 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, states that it is the duty of all citizens of Pakistan not to communicate anything prejudicial to the safety of the State including official documents or information or the activities of Armed Forces during peace and war to an unauthorized person. However, at the same time, the Act permits communication of the document or information to the authorized person or a Court of Justice or a person to whom it is, in the interests of the State, his duty to communicate it.

There is no doubt that any Pakistani who applies for the nationality of another country and his or her request is accepted should always remain loyal to his or her new country and nationality thereof. Similarly, any foreign national who acquires Pakistani nationality should be loyal to Pakistan. However, those holding dual nationalities should act as a bridge between the two countries; the previous nationality and the present one. We have seen some of Pakistanis, after acquiring foreign nationalities, use the foreign soil as a battleground against their former country by inciting hatred and criminal conspiracy against the government and people of the previous country. We have examples of Army Cadet College passed out David Headley (a US national involved in terrorism against India but defaming Pakistan), Captain Rana Tahawwar Hussain (Canadian national involved in terrorism), Tarek Fateh (Canadian national involved in terrorism and waffling hatred against Pakistan), Hussain Haqani (Pakistan Ambassador to US who leaves no stone unturned to create hatred against Pakistan Army and sectarian hatred inside Pakistan) and many others like them.

Since long Foreign Recruitment Centres” have been established in Afghanistan and Pakistan, through which Asians and Arabs are being offered foreign citizenship. The aim of such a recruitment is that foreign citizens, having dual nationalities will be sent back to the countries of their origin to serve as mercenaries to achieve US’ and other foreign nation’s objectives. Today foreign intelligence agencies and their front offices claim that they have brigades of Pakistanis serving and retired government officers and staff who are working for them. They include bureaucrats, Armed Forces personnel, government employees and others. One wonders, how come we have allowed these people to work for our enemies, adversaries and rivals. When we talk about the writ of the government, it really sounds meaningless that those who are the employees of foreign governments are being given red-carpet receptions while those are suspected to be extremists or agents are ruthlessly killed.

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