No Longer “Sacred Cow”

In an unprecedented move, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif sacked 12 army officers on the proof of graft charges on April 21. The dismissed officers worked with the Frontier Corps Balochistan. His action has proved that the army is no longer a “sacred cow” and action could be taken against corrupt army officers at all level up to Lieutenant General and down to a soldier. The move is welcome by all. This action has set up a good example for all others including parliamentarians, ministers, prime minister, president, and politicians.  They no longer misuse public funds and trust. They are accountable to the law. They have to explain sources of their income.

Pakistan’s financial system is extremely corrupt. Businessmen, politicians, bureaucrats, and army officers make huge money. So are smugglers and narcotic traffickers. Pakistan has a very poor record of financial accountability after military rule was imposed in 1958. Civilian governments have a good record of financial accountability from 1947 to 1977. Financial corruption started since the 1980s under the military regime that was well protected by the United States that wanted to use them for Afghan War. Since that time onward, Pakistan emerged as the hub for financial corruption along with narcotic trade and money laundering. Religious organizations and madris became a source of receiving foreign funding without auditing their accounts. The civilian governments that came into being since mid 1985 through so-called elections or fake mandate, their activities were generated through illegal financial means and black money. The true meaning of democracy no longer existed. Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar staggered the Parliament in May 2014 that at least US$200 billion of Pakistani money was stashed away in Swiss banks. Switzerland, Dubai, England, France, Spain, British Virgin Island, and Bahamas etc were used for shaky investment and money laundering.

The military action has put additional pressure on the government to take up the issue of the Panama Leaks in accordance with law and transparency. A commission is expected to be set up with 48 hours to investigate into offshore business of prime minister and his family and all other 250 involved.  The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) also come under additional pressure to take immediate actions.

Dr Ahmad Rashid Malik