Islamabad: In an unusual move, Pakistan`s Army has reinstated three Generals, who retired several years ago so that they can be court-martialled for alleged involvement in a financial scam, instead of being hauled up before a civilian court.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which has been investigating the multi-billion rupee scam in the Army-run National Logistics Cell (NLC), has informed Parliament`s Public Accounts Committee that the Army has reinstated the retired Generals into active service so that they can face a court martial.
A NAB official told a meeting of the parliamentary panel yesterday that following the General Headquarters` refusal to allow the trial of the three retired generals in a civilian court, the NAB had decided to act only against civilian officials involved in the scam.
Though the Army had not cooperated with NAB earlier and it refused to share records related to the scandal, an agreement has now been reached by the two sides due to the intervention of by NAB chairman Fasih Bokhari, a retired naval chief.
Bokhari held three meetings with Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to discuss cooperation in the investigation of the scam, the NAB official told the parliamentary panel.
The three retired Army officers, Lt General Khalid Munir Khan, Lt General Mohammad Afzal Muzzafar and Major General Khalid Zaheer Akhtar, and some civilian officials were allegedly involved in obtaining loans worth Rs 4.3 billion and investing the funds in the volatile stock market during 2004-08.
These investments resulted in losses of Rs 1.84 billion and the NLC paid Rs 2.7 million a day as mark-up on the loans that officials said were illegally obtained.
The NAB official said the connivance between the civilians and retired generals had been established.
The Public Accounts Committee had directed NAB last year to take action against the three retired generals and two civilians for the scam.
The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Nadeem Afzal Chan of the Pakistan People’s Party, directed the panel`s secretariat to ask the Defence Secretary to submit a report on the case within 15 days.
In a related development, the NLC director general, Major General Junaid Rehmat, said it was important to determine whether the firm was a department of the Army or under civilian control.
He told the parliamentary panel that NLC had received permission from the Army chief and the Defence Ministry to start an exercise to determine its status.
In response to a question from a lawmaker, Rehmat said the NLC was no longer involved in transporting goods to Afghanistan.
Following the inking of a transit trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Afghan trucks transported goods from Karachi port and the Wagah land border crossing, he said.