12 Pakistan Army officers have been suspended on allegations of corruption by Army leadership, Waqt News reported. The officers include a Major General, a Lieutenant General, five Brigadiers, a Colonel, three Lieutenant Colonels and a Major.

According to sources the accountability process has been accelerated in the recent past in armed forces. All the service benefits of these officers have been taken back by the military authorities. The suspended officers served in Frontier Constabulary.

The army authorities have ordered to take the corruption money back from these officers.

The following officers are among those dismissed: Lt Gen Obaidullah, Inspector General Arms and Weapons at General Headquarters Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid, Brigadier Rasheed, Brigadier Asad Shahzada, Brigadier Saifullah, Brigadier Amir, Lt Col Haider and Commandant Chaman Scouts Maj Najeeb.

The eight officers named above served with the Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan and have been charged for corruption during their service with the paramilitary force.

"The others dismissed were junior commission officers who worked with those named above," said an intelligence official.

Following the investigation conducted by Adjutant Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat on the orders of the army chief, the charged officers were asked to return all earnings accumulated through corruption, the official said, adding that all perks and privileges had been withdrawn from the officers except their pensions.

“Lt Gen Obaidullah also served as IG FC from 2010-2013, after which Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid was appointed IG FC,” intelligence sources revealed.

There has been no official confirmation regarding the move.

Opposition leaders have demanded a probe into the scandal, with some calling for the PM to step down. Quarters close to the PM’s Office say PM Nawaz is determined to have his three children cleared of accusations of money laundering and tax evasion in the aftermath of Panama Papers leak.

PML-N's Zubair Umar said that although the army chief's move was laudable, only the PML-N and prime minister should not be targeted. He called for holding "corrupt elements" within the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and PPP accountable as well.

PTI's Shah Mahmood Qureshi appreciated the development, terming the move a signal that Operation Zarb-i-Azb and the war against corruption will not stop. "This action will bring more credibility to the state's security in carrying out an across-the-board operation."

Qamar Zaman Kaira of the PPP said it was time for the PM and his family to come clean regarding the Panama leaks, adding that the opposition parties had "no differences over the initiation of a transparent inquiry". "Things done through consensus take time, and the Panama inquiry will also take some time," he added.

Jamaat-i-Islami's Ameer Sirajul Haq said the civilian leadership should stand united against "economic terrorism" like it stands against militancy and terrorism after Army Public School massacre. He said the government was "still confused about forming a commission over Panama Papers".

Defence analyst Hassan Askari said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Investigation Agency and other agencies will be pressed to take similar action regarding bureaucracy. The army chief's actions will have repercussions for civilian institutions and corrupt politicians under the microscope would be probed transparently.

Security analyst Talat Masood said the Army chief has "set an example for politicians to follow" and the decision would "build pressure on politicians as well as the judiciary to root out corruption". "This decision has come at a time when certain sections were apprehensive about the involvement of Pakistan Army in civilian matters."

The action has been taken right after the COAS General Raheel Sharif’s announcement of accountability across the board in the country. Two days ago Army Chief had stated: "Without ending corruption, Pakistan will not become peaceful and strong. The disease of corruption is destroying the roots of Pakistan.”

The statement was considered highly critical in the context of Panama Leaks because Pakistan’s political scene has been jarred by corruption allegations following the Leaks, which have accused many leaders, including the Sharif family, of possessing offshore investments.

Even before the Panama Papers’ allegations, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was investigating several senior members of the ruling party PML-N over corruption.

Furthermore, after the COAS' statement, there was a demand in the political arena that army should start the accountability process in its own institution. This suspension of army officers is a major step taken by Pakistan Army and considered to be the first of its kind.

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