ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army has withdrawn all post-retirement benefits including pension and free medical cover of five retired army officers, including at least one ex-major general, for being part of the anti-army campaign, it has been learnt.
Informed defence sources told The News that action against these officers was taken last month after following legal procedures and giving the ex-servicemen a chance to defend their position.
These sources categorically deny that the number of ex-servicemen facing such actions is around 150, and lamented that some YouTubers are connecting the military action against its five ex-servicemen with a recent statement of PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz.
“The GHQ had proceeded against the five retired officers at least two weeks before Maryam spoke on the issue,” one of these sources said, lamenting that all sorts of lies are being spread and irresponsible statements being made by the media, particularly the social media and some YouTubers, without verifying the facts. The source said that the military expects from the government to proceed against those who are maligning the institution.
This correspondent had approached the defence sources to inquire if i) the number of retired army officers whose pensionary benefits have been withdrawn is around 150, and ii) whether action against any of these officers has anything to do with Maryam Nawaz's statement in which she had sought the withdrawal of all benefits and military medals of those retired generals who are controversially campaigning in favour of the PTI.
In response to the above questions, The News was told that the GHQ had proceeded against only five retired officers as per the law and the Constitution. “The social media reports of 150 ex-servicemen facing the action are totally incorrect,” the source said. He disclosed that those who faced the action included officers retired from the rank of major to major general.
It is explained that these retired officers were found campaigning against the army. They were warned, confronted and proceeded against as per the law. They were penalised under the provisions of the Official Secret Act, the source said, adding that these officers had gone out of line to peddle propaganda against the institution.
Regarding the question about the military action and linking it with Maryam Nawaz's statement by some YouTubers, these sources said that the decision by the GHQ was taken at least two weeks before Maryam did her presser. “No connection whatsoever,” a source said, lamenting that neither the media nor government was doing anything against those media men and YouTubers who are maligning the institution on a daily basis. “It is really damaging and dangerous for everyone,” the source said.
After the ouster of Imran Khan from the Prime Minister's Office, a group of ex-servicemen, including retired three-star generals, became part of PTI social media campaigns. Some of these retired officers crossed the military’s red lines while many of them reviewed their position and withdrew from testing the limits.
Recently, some retired officers, including at least two retired three-star generals, held a press conference in Islamabad but it turned out to be a complete messy affair. Maryam Nawaz spoke against the retired generals who had held this messy press conference. The GHQ acted against five retired officers even before the ex-servicemen’s presser.
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