Pakistan army chief sacks senior officers for corruption

Nawaz Sharif
Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan’s army has fired several senior officers over corruption charges 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.

Another source confirmed the sackings.

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,” said retired general Talat Masood.

“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 court martials 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.