“This office does not recognise or endorse the activities of certain associations of persons masquerading as (or claiming to be) ex-servicemen societies i.e. inter alia, Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society (PESS) and Veterans of Pakistan (VoP) soliciting support and funds for charitable purposes, flood relief, public works or propagation of unwarranted ideas,” a statement issued by the defence ministry said.
It said the associations were “neither recognised nor authorised, on behalf of the Armed Forces of Pakistan” to act as ex-servicemen societies and claim association with the armed forces or its institutions.
“Comprehensive policy/guidelines” exist for “functioning/operation of ex-servicemen societies”, the ministry stated, while warning them that violation of those guidelines would be “culpable” and “entail penal consequences”.
The statement has been issued by the ministry instead of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), which normally issues statements on behalf of Joint Staff Headquarters, GHQ and other services headquarters.
PESS is headed by Lt Gen (retd) Amjad Shoaib, while VoP is led by Lt Gen (retd) Ali Kuli Khan.
According to the PESS website, the body was formed to look after the welfare of retired servicemen and is the largest veterans’ body. VoP, the other major group, meanwhile, espouses political ambitions. Publicly denying recognition to the veterans’ bodies is so far the harshest action against these associations by the ministry.