Pak army sacks clutch of senior officers over graft

22 April 2016

Pakistan's army has fired several senior officers over corruption charges, senior military sources told AFP Thursday, in a rare display of accountability by the country's most powerful institution.

"I can confirm the sacking of at least six senior officers which include a lieutenant general," said a senior officer based in military headquarters, crediting popular army chief Raheel Sharif with launching the investigation leading to the dismissals.

It was unclear when the officers were fired, the precise nature of the charges, or whether they would face criminal proceedings in a civilian court.

The move was hailed by commentators because wrongdoings committed by the army, which has ruled Pakistan for around half of its existence and continues to exert control over foreign policy, rarely come to light.

"It's an extraordinary development," retired general Talat Masood told AFP.

"The military has taken the lead in punishing corrupt officials and has set an excellent example. It will have a very serious impact and very positive impact in the future. Those who are corrupt should be worried now."

The news comes as Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faces pressure over revelations made in the so-called Panama Papers linking his family to a series of offshore companies.

Earlier this month he announced the formation of a commission to investigate the allegations in the documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca that have exposed how some of the world's most powerful people secrete their assets offshore.

Masood added that the courts martial would increase pressure on the prime minister to clamp down on corruption, which has long held back the South Asian economy, in the civilian government.

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