Army chief meets PM Nawaz to discuss national security

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday and briefed the premier on the current security situation in the country, said a statement by the PM House.

General Bajwa also discussed matters pertaining to the professional preparedness of Army and border situation, added the statement.

Nawaz was also apprised by the army chief regarding the ongoing security operation in the country, operation Raadul Fasaad.

The premier expressed satisfaction over the gains made in the security operation and “appreciated the role of armed forces for their matchless sacrifices towards the national goal of achieving peace in the country”.

The meeting between the army chief and the prime minister comes following the recent sentencing of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was condemned to death by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) on April 10.

Jadhav’s arrest and trial

Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, through a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area for his involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Monday.

Although the accused had been provided with a defending officer as per legal provisions, according to ISPR, Pakistan had turned down India’s request seeking consular access to Jadhav last year due to his involvement in “subversive activities” in the country.

Jadhav was tried by the FGCM under Section 59 of the PAA and Section 3 of the official Secret Act of 1923, the statement said.

Jadhav confessed before a magistrate and court that he was tasked by Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities seeking to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan through impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for the restoration of peace in Balochistan and Karachi, the ISPR said.

Following the announcement, India summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit on Monday and handed over a demarche saying, “If this sentence against an Indian citizen, awarded without observing basic norms of law and justice, is carried out, the government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder.”

Dawn reported that Jadhav now has 40 days to file an appeal against the FGCM in the army’s court of appeal, according to retired Col Inamur Rahim, a military law expert.

In case the appeal court upholds the FGCM verdict, Jadhav would have the opportunity to seek mercy from the army chief and the president of Pakistan.

Simultaneously, Col Inam said, the convict could approach a high court if he felt that due process was not observed during his trial and his fundamental rights as an accused were not fulfilled.

Experts view the military’s announcement about Jadhav’s trial and prosecution as an unprecedented move, viewing it as a strong message to India as well as other foreign intelligence agencies.

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