Ex-general fights case against ‘espionage slur’ on his name

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A former three-star general of Pakistan Army, who was convicted of espionage by a military court, has been released from the Adiala jail after new military leaders pardoned him.

In May 2019, the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) handed down 14-year rigorous imprisonment to retired Lt Gen Javed Iqbal, and death sentence to a brigadier and a civilian for espionage and sharing “sensitive information” with the foreign spies. The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), in a statement at that time, said then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa “endorsed” their sentences.

In 2021, an appellate tribunal commuted Mr Iqbal’s 14-year sentence by half and it was further reduced by two and a half years by Mr Bajwa days before his retirement as army chief. Lt Gen retired Javed Iqbal was released from the jail in late December 2022 after the new military leaders reviewed his case and ordered his release from the court.

Gen Asim Munir assumed the command of the Pakistan armed forces after retired Gen Bajwa hung up his boots in November last and Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza was also appointed Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).

Meanwhile, Javed Iqbal, who has challenged his conviction in the Lahore High Court (LHC), aims at continuing the legal battle until he is honourably acquitted of all the malicious allegations. The high court has conducted around a dozen hearings in the case, with next hearing in the appeal is scheduled for later this month – January.

Lt Gen Iqbal has served at key positions in the military during his active service, including director-general of military operations, which is responsible for planning and executing all operations inside and outside Pakistan. He also held the post of adjutant-general who

supervises discipline and accountability within the forces.