In an unprecedented, unparallel move, army chief General Raheel Sharif dismissed six army officers over corruption charges yesterday. The officers were part of Balochistan Frontier Core.
One Lieutenant General, one Major General, three Brigadiers and one Colonel sacked by army chief.
The two generals are Lt Gen Obaidullah Khattak, inspector-general arms, and Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid, while others are Brigadier Asad Shahzada, Brigadier Saifullah, Brigadier Amir and Col Haider.
Besides losing their jobs, the army officers would not get any of the retirement perks and privileges except for pension and medical treatment facility. They have been asked to return the ill-gotten money.
Earlier media reports said as many as 12 army officers, including some mid-ranking ones, have been sacked.
In hindsight, army chief in a statement said “across the board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan”, adding that the war against terror cannot be won unless “the menace of corruption is uprooted.”
Gen Raheel said “Pakistan’s armed forces will fully support every meaningful effort in that direction which would ensure a better future for our next generations.”
After this statement Information Minister Pervez Rashid said “Won’t let anyone does politics in the name of eliminating corruption.” While some of the federal ministers including Defense Minister Khawaja Asif emblazoned COAS statement of across the board accountability.
Army is busy in Zarb-i-Azb to eliminate extremist elements from FATA and Karachi. Recently after Lahore Park blast, COAS launched military operation against terrorists in Punjab. A couple of days back they’ve also held nefarious Chotoo gang’s leader Ghulam Rasool Alias from riverine area of Rajanpur.
The statement on corruption by army chief triggered a debate in political as well as in media establishment of Pakistan. There was a view that this statement is indirectly hitting at the allegations leveled in Panama Leaks on the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
A couple of days after the revelations of offshore companies of Nawaz Sharif’s family in Panama Leaks, the prime minister addressed the nation and showed commitment to interrogate this matter. He also announced an inquiry commission to probe the allegations which was later repudiated by opposition parties.
PTI chief Imran Khan addressed the nation and rejected this proposed inquiry commission and demanded a judicial commission headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan. He also threatened the government of street kerfuffle if investigations are not wielded fairly.
The dismissal of army officers over the charges of corruption has further deepened the Panama Leaks crisis for Nawaz Sharif. He’ll now be under immense pressure to investigate the allegations fairly.
Furthermore, NAB has to be proactive now. There are a number of elements in bureaucracy too who have fingers in the till and that they must be held accountable for their plunders, wrongdoings and siphoning off the money.
The modus operandi set by Raheel Sharif against corruption must be carried by political as well as all civil institutions and that the skullduggery to stunt this procedure can be deadly for the government and country (the message). The time has definitely come to workaround and exterminate the colossal corruption in our state institutions.
The dismissal of army officers is just a beginning and the nation would be waiting for their trial and incarceration if corruption charges are proved.
The popularity graph of Raheel Sharif will further rise if civil administration doesn’t take the gumption positive and thrive to hold the corrupt elements accountable.
To pacify the prevailing political stifle on Panama Leaks, Nawaz Sharif must come to any consensus with opposition parties on the investigation of corruption charges. Any procrastination on this matter can bring the street chaos days back which will not only harm the authority of government but also can be baleful for democracy and Nawaz government.
Chequered by Pakistan’s democratic political history, the fragile structure of this system is so prone to any misfortune.
Raheel Sharif has started accountability from his own house which will set aside the bickering that COAS is making political statements. He’s going to embellish his own courtyard first.