Pakistan police have arrested a man who spent three years posing as a general to grab land and solicit favours from the government in a country where the military holds formidable power, police said Friday.
Maqsood Shah, 52, was detained Thursday near an army area in eastern Karachi as he strolled in uniform to meet a government official in order to clinch approval for an illegal land transfer, officials said.
"We have arrested a man who runs a private hospital but has been successfully pretending to be a lieutenant general for three years to grab land and garner undue favours," senior police official Ghulam Subhani told AFP.
Shah was detained after allegedly threatening the official in question, who subsequently tipped off police.
"We checked him out to confirm that he was a fake and arrested him outside the cantonment," Subhani said.
"He is the brother of a retired army colonel who is abroad. We found fake military gear, an AK-47 rifle and a Blackberry from his house."
Police accused Shah of ringing up several provincial cabinet ministers and pretending to be a general in order to solicit "undue favours".
He even attended the funeral of influential local politician Pir Pagara, paying his respects in uniform without being detected.
The police said he would be put on trial and faced a maximum sentence of five years if found guilty of fraud.
A military spokesman said he had no comment.
The army has ruled Pakistan for around half its existence, having seized power in three coups and remains the chief arbiter of power in the country of 174 million, which is battling a Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked insurgency.