Islamabad, Feb 12 : In an attempt to improve the image of armed forces, Pakistani Army has called back serving officers from 23 civil departments.
"Over 300 army officers are presently working in various civil departments and majority of them have been asked to report to the General Headquarters (GHQ) immediately," Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major-General Athar Abbas told the Dawn.
He went on to say that authorities in army have written to the Mohammedmian Soomro Government asking it to relieve all serving military officers from civil departments.
Major-General Abbas said army officers would be withdrawn in phases over a period of two to six months.
"We have asked the government to relieve those army officials immediately who can be replaced easily," said the Major General, adding, "Those who cannot be replaced at once will be called back in two to six months."
He, however, maintained that officers who were serving on sensitive posts in civil departments would continue in their present positions, adding that such officials would return to their parent department as and when the government relieve them.
Major General Abbas also clarified that the army officers would not be inducted into the civil departments in future.
The move is said to be in line with a decision taken by the 106th Corps Commanders' Conference on February 7 that was presided over by Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
General Kayani's decisions about reversal of officers from civil departments and restrictions on meeting politicians have received laurels by civil society and political parties.
According to sources, the highest number of 61 army officers working with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which was set up by former Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf soon after taking over the power on October 12, 1999 were being called back.
They added that 21 army officers working in the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) and 18 in the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had also been asked to report back to the GHQ.
Army officers working with the National Highways Authority, Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) Accountability Bureau, PoK Prime Minister Secretariat, Interior Ministry, Foreign Affairs Ministry, National Crisis Management Cell, Intelligence Bureau (IB), National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB), education departments, provincial governments, National Institute of Science, Technology and Engineering (NISTE), Customs Intelligence, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Pakistan Steel Mills and Establishment Division have been asked to report back to the GHQ.