It was the crash of a Ferrari sports car at Quetta in 2014 that led to Pakistan Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif’s decision to sack several officers, including two generals, for corruption, military sources said.
The sports car was bought by Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid, the then inspector general of the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Balochistan, for his son for around $400,000.
After the Ferrari was serviced at an army unit, Shahid instructed a major and a colonel to take it for test drive. Both officers were killed when the car crashed in November 2014.
The families of the officers wrote to the army chief to order an inquiry after the Frontier Corps closed the case. They sent an application asking the army chief to declare the officers as ‘shaheed’ (martyrs) as they died on duty. Gen Sharif then ordered an inquiry to ascertain facts.
While there has been no official comment on the sacking of senior officers on Thursday and there are conflicting figures for the number of officers sacked, sources said the inquiry into the Ferrari crash led to the dismissals.
The inquiry found the sports car had been smuggled into Pakistan. Maj Gen Shahid also could not justify how he had bought the car.
Soon after, Shahid was transferred from the Frontier Corps and appointed the director general of foreign military cooperation. The inquiry also showed Shahid was allegedly making money from illegal activities, including the smuggling of vehicles, the sources said.
The probe into Shahid’s activities opened a Pandora’s Box on the Frontier Corps. His predecessor, Maj Gen Obaidullah Khattak, who had by then been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, was also investigated.
It was found Khattak too was allegedly involved in corruption. He was removed from a sensitive assignment in late 2015.
The senior officers were forcibly retired after a long-running internal inquiry that lasted more than a year. All the sacked officers served with the Frontier Corps in Balochistan and were charged with corruption during their tenure with the paramilitary force.
In August 2015, a long-delayed military probe into a Rs 4.3-billion scam in the National Logistics Cell, an army-run engineering and freight unit, had found two former generals guilty of illegal investments in the stock exchange. The generals were punished under the Pakistan Army Act.