The unprecedented death sentence in Pakistan to a retired Army Brigadier and a scientist, as well as a 14-year prison term to a lieutenant general — which has been “endorsed” by Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa — came after their conviction on charges of selling Pakistan’s nuclear secrets abroad, The Indian Express has learnt.
While the more senior officer, Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal (retd), was awarded 14 years’ rigorous imprisonment, Brigadier Raja Rizwan (retd) and Dr Wasim Akram, who the ISPR described as an employee of a “sensitive organisation” were handed the death sentence.
Bajwa’s confirmation of the sentences came at a time when the Pakistan Army is facing criticism for being the only institution in the country not held accountable. Since the announcement, sections of the media have praised the Pakistan Army for setting an example on accountability.
The ISPR did not give details of which foreign agencies the three were spying for, or what information they leaked.
One source said the severity of the sentence indicated that they were passing on secrets to India, but another said it was to the CIA and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. They further said Wasim is a nuclear scientist and was working at the Kahuta Research Labs, Pakistan’s main uranium enrichment facility.
Lt Gen Javed Iqbal was Director-General Military Operations during the Raymond Davis episode. He served as commander of 31 Corps from December 2013 to April 2015, when he retired.
Brigadier Raja was with the ISI and served as the Defence Attache at the Pakistan Embassy in Germany from 2009 to 2012 before retiring in 2014. He appears to have been taken into custody in October 2018. His son filed a petition in Islamabad High Court on October 23, stating his father was missing since October 10.
Five months later, the Pakistan Army disclosed that two senior military officers were in custody on charges of espionage without giving their names. No mention was made of Wasim.