Country Report Pakistan
- ID: 2101420
- April 2016
- Region: Pakistan
- 25 Pages
- The Economist Intelligence Unit
On April 21st local media cited a source in the Pakistan military who confirmed that the chief of army staff, General Raheel Sharif, had removed at least six senior officers, including at least one lieutenant-general, for corruption.
Taking place in the context of the Panama Papers controversy, in which the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and other politicians from across the political spectrum are implicated, the dismissals have increased the pressure on the prime minister to take robust investigative action and clean up the civilian administration. The move by the army chief has indirectly weakened the public standing of civilian leaders by shoring up the military's reputation for accountability. In addition, General Sharif's relative personal standing has strengthened as a result. This may presage a rethink of his earlier decision to step down in November.
News of the dismissals emerged two days after General Sharif stated in a speech to army personnel that "across the board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan". This was widely interpreted as a pointed message to Mr Sharif to get his house in order, an assessment further strengthened by the revelation of the army dismissals. Leaking rather than formally announcing the news through Inter-Services Public Relations (the army's public relations wing) allowed the army to show up government inaction while avoiding the embarrassment of officially detailing wrongdoing by senior personnel.