After waiting seven months for the army chief to take action against military officials involved in a financial scam at the National Logistics Cell (NLC), an-army managed transport corporation, Pakistan’s parliamentarians have once again raised the matter and directed the defence ministry to take action on the issue.
At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly on Saturday, Opposition leader in the parliament Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who chaired the meeting, asked the ministry of defence to submit a report on the charges by June 30.
According to an audit report, the NLC's management including Lt Gen Khalid Munir Khan, Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal Muzaffar and Maj Gen Khalid Zaheer Akhtar obtained unauthorised loans of Rs4.3 billion between 2004 and 2008 for investments in the volatile stock market and suffered losses to the tune of Rs1.84 billion. These investments were made at a time when then prime minister Shaukat Aziz had specifically banned such investments by state-owned entities.
“It is not just a case of financial mismanagement. It also has to do with army men directly disobeying the orders of an elected official,” said politician Fauzia Wahab.The scandal surfaced in 2010 after it was highlighted by the local media. On pressure from various quarters, the PAC took up the issue and began investigations. However, when it summoned the guilty military officials to appear before it, army chief General Ashfaq Kayani intervened and instead ordered his own inquiry in the matter.
Politicians allege that the officers are close to the General Kayani and that he ordered the face-saving measure to prevent the parliament from investigating other scandals in which military officials are involved.
Kayani’s move sabotaged the work of the parliamentary committee, said an MP said on condition of anonymity.