Act against corrupt ex-generals: Pakistani daily

The financial scandal at National Logistics Cell caused a loss of nearly Rs 1.8 billion through illegal investments between 2004 and 2008.

Islamabad: A probe into a financial scandal in an Army-run organisation is a test case, said a leading Pakistani daily that wondered whether "high-profile targets - now retired generals - are the reason for the slow pace of the investigation".

An editorial in the Dawn, an influential daily, on Monday said the financial scandal at the Army-run National Logistics Cell which caused a loss of nearly Rs 1.8 billion through illegal investments between 2004 and 2008 was back in the news.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairperson Fasih Bokhari said the three generals implicated in the scam could be court-martialled by the Army - if the Army`s separate investigation produced evidence of serious wrongdoing.

"This is simply not good enough," said that daily.

The Army`s investigation was announced in November 2010.

"November 2010 to July 2012 is long enough to have determined who in the Army-run NLC was responsible for the losses suffered by the organisation and what criminal prosecution they should face - there being virtually no doubt that some financial malfeasance was involved," it added.

The editorial wondered: "Are the high-profile targets - now retired generals - the reason for the slow pace of the investigation?”

"Very likely, yes."

"But it`s not just the Army that may be trying to shield several of its own," it said, adding NAB too seems to "drag its feet when it comes to investigating corruption and misdeeds committed by men in uniform - leading to a suspicion that the many men who once served in uniform and now serve at NAB may be protecting their own kind".

It went on to say that "...while politicians have been given a bad name and hanged - literally in some cases - there is still a lack of genuine public understanding about the extent of corruption and malfeasance in other institutions".

"What that does is lead to a false choice: corrupt politicians out to squeeze every last drop they can from the system Vs noble and patriotic men in other institutions who may be occasionally misguided but have Pakistan`s best interests at heart.”

"So there`s a very real and urgent need to pull back the veil and take on whatever skeletons come tumbling out of hitherto closed closets. The NLC case, then, is a test case: a test for whether or not Pakistan is genuinely moving towards a more level playing field," it added.