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COAS sends top men home over corruption

COAS sends top men  home over corruption

ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented move, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Thursday dismissed six senior army officers including a three-star general after they were found guilty of corrupt practices.
Unlike the past, the decision was publicized on the national media, prompting across-the-board applauds from the politicians as well as general public.
Politicians used television networks to appreciate the decision, while the general public turned to social media to express their sentiments. In no time, a Twitter hashtag “#ThankYouRaheelSharif” became the top trend for Pakistan.
The army chief took the step after a detailed investigation vetted by outgoing Adjutant General Zamirul Hassan. The court-martialed officers were directed to return all earnings they had amassed through corruption.
The sentence meted out to those dismissed officers also included revoking of all of their perks and privileges. They would, however, be entitled to receive their pensions and medical care.
None of the officers was slapped a jail term.
Sources said the decision was taken in the last corps commanders meeting. It was also decided that the decision would be made public to show that there was zero tolerance for corruption in the army.
Lieutenant General Obaid Ullah Khattak and Major General Ejaz Shahid were among those sacked. Others include three brigadiers and a colonel.
From 2010 to 2013, Lt Gen Obaidullah Khan served as Inspector General of Frontier Corps (IGFC). He was succeeded by Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid. Several other officers who faced the dismissal had also served with the IGFC.
Though there was no immediate official word about the nature of their crime, sources said most dismissed officers were involved in corrupt practices during their service in the paramilitary force in Balochistan.
Sources said the dismissed army officers were also involved in the smuggling of non-custom paid vehicles. They made massive amount of money and transferred it to their personal bank accounts.
It all began with an accident. In November 2014, two army officials were hit by a sports car owned by the son of then IGFC Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid. Their family members wrote a letter to the army chief holding the IGFC responsible for the death of their loved ones. The army chief directed an inquiry, while later turned into a full-scale corruption-related investigation.
The decision to dismiss six senior officers was announced just two days after the army chief called for an across-the-board accountability. He had said that the war against terror could not be won unless the menace of corruption was uprooted. He had also assured armed forces’ full support to every meaningful effort in that direction.
The recent statement and the practical step by the army chief came at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family are facing allegations of hiding their wealth in offshore accounts. The Panama Papers revealed PM’s children owned some offshore companies and the asset declaration by the prime minister showed he had received monetary benefits from his sons, who owned those companies.
Before departing to London for ‘medical treatment’, the prime minister had vowed to get the names of his children cleared through an independent and transparent investigation.

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