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Pakistan army sacks six top officers

BBC News BBC News 21/04/2016
Pakistani flag © AFP Pakistani flag

At least six high-ranking Pakistani army officers, including a lieutenant-general and major-general, have been sacked amid corruption allegations.

The unprecedented move comes two days after the head of the army, Gen Raheel Sharif, said corruption had to be uprooted to fight terrorism.

An initial army statement that said 11 officers had been dismissed has now been retracted.

Details of the allegations against the officers were not immediately released.

Panama Papers and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif

Observers say the timing of the announcement and the remarks by Gen Sharif are designed to put pressure on the government.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is still dealing with controversy at home after details of his family's offshore assets were revealed in the so-called Panama Papers.

Analysis: BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad

Military officials insist that accountability within the forces is an ongoing process, though often kept secret for reasons of morale. But this time there has been what looks like a deliberate leak.

It is not known when the officers were sacked, but the disclosure has come at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is battling a crisis of legitimacy after the Panama Papers leaks revealed that his family held foreign assets in the names of offshore companies.

The timing of the disclosure is significant. It will not only increase pressure on Mr Sharif, but also deflect muted but growing references to corruption within the military, which many believe runs deeper than it seems.

They say that while the military's internal systems work as a well-oiled machine, audit rules often crumble when it comes to the accounting of procurement and supplies. There have also been long-standing allegations that senior officials controlling border posts have been protecting smugglers.

And questions have been raised over the use of unaudited funds that until recently flowed to various militant networks through military agencies, though the agencies have often denied such a role.

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