Pak. Army chief sacks 12 officers over graft charges

Pakistan’s Army chief Raheel Sharif on Thursday sacked 12 serving Army officers, including a Lieutenant-General, for corruption-related offences.

The sacking comes at a time when the chorus for an inquiry into the offshore assets of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children, as revealed by the Panama Papers, is growing in Pakistan.

Two sons and a daughter of Mr. Sharif, according to the Panama Papers, had formed four offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands.

The precise nature of the charges against the dismissed Army officers, against whom an inquiry has been on for some time, has not been revealed so far, agency reports from Islamabad said.

Lt. Gen. Obaidullah, Inspector General Arms and Weapons at General Headquarters; Maj. Gen. Ejaz Shahid; Brigadiers Rasheed, Asad Shahzada, Saifullah, Amir and Haider; Lt. Col. Haider and Major Najeeb were among the officers who have been sacked, the Dawn newspaper’s website reported. Several of these officers are said to have served together in the Frontier Corps in Balochistan from where the charges against them emanated. #ThankYouRaheelSharif was trending on Twitter in Pakistan, adding to the Army Chief’s already growing stature as a General who had not hesitated to take on terrorists and now corruption in the country.

Speaking in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, Gen. Sharif said across-the-board accountability was essential for the “solidarity, integrity and prosperity” of Pakistan. According to him, the war on terror could not be won till the “menace of corruption was uprooted”.

“The message from Gen. Sharif to the civilian political leadership is unambiguous – we are cleansing our ranks and you should cleanse yours,” Imtiaz Gul, an Islamabad-based political analyst, told The Hindu. “But don’t read too much into it. This does not mean that the Army will topple the civilian government,” Mr. Gul stressed.

A Karachi-based analyst, who preferred anonymity, said the sackings were significant given that they came close on the heels of the Army Chief’s statement calling for across-the-board accountability. Asked if there was a message for Prime Minister Sharif and his family members, the analyst responded: “It’s too early to say, but people are reading it in this way.”

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 5:54:59 PM |

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