The imprisonment sentences of Adil Raja and Haider Mehdi after a court martial are evidence that any attempts to disrupt the ranks and files of the institution cannot be tolerated. Pakistan’s military, as an institution, stands on the behest of strict disciplinary code and unity within its ranks. Inciting sedition by asking serving personnel to rebel is a criminal offence. The titles of both of these retired officers have been forfeited, setting an example for anyone who violates the Pakistan Army Act (1952) or Official Secrets Act (1923).
Official Secrets Act is an anti-espionage act which the convicted violated using their YouTube channels and exploiting a large following. The verdict is very significant as it establishes two things very clearly. One, that even in the age of digital media where information is hard to contain, the institution will not allow any deviance from its rules and regulations. Second, it will serve as a deterrent for anyone who will try to follow suit. Adil Raja’s and Haider Mehdi’s provocation to violence and rebellion is associated with the May 9 incidents. By holding them accountable and announcing the sentences, the institution of armed forces has reinstated its commitment to national security. This is a very strong message for all those who thought that they could push people towards violence against the armed forces and still come clean. The severity of the sentences, 14 years imprisonment for Adil Raja and 12 years for Haider Mehdi, reflects the gravity of the charges against them. It also underscores the military’s determination to curb any actions that undermine the state’s vital interests.
This decision emphasizes unity and punishment for those who act otherwise; who create and encourage polarity. No one is above and beyond the law. This is not the first court-martial in the country’s history but accountability within the armed forces dispels notions of unnecessary patronage. This is a win of the Pakistan Army Act and reinforces its supremacy in guiding the institution towards safeguarding the nation’s security.