Thursday, February 22, 2024

Raheel Sharif to be new Pak army chief

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Islamabad:  Ending weeks of speculation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday appointed Lt Gen Raheel Sharif as Pakistan’s new Army Chief and Lt Gen Rashid Mehmood as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Prime Minister Sharif recommended the names of the two commanders which were endorsed by President Mamnoon Hussain.
The President promoted both the Lt Generals to General rank.
Lt Gen Sharif will replace 61-year-old Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who would hang his boots on Friday after being at the helm of the Army for six years.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sharif held separate meetings here with Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Mahmood and Inspector General Training and Evaluation Lt Gen Sharif.
“The meetings discussed professional matters and matters relating to national security,” a senior government official told PTI.
Lt Gen Sharif’s prior appointments include Commander, Gujranwala XXX Corps, Commandant of Pakistan Military Academy Kakul and General Officer Commanding Lahore.
Lt Gen Mahmood has served as the Corps Commander of Lahore. He was also the military secretary to former President Rafiq Tarar.
Mahmood comes from Baloch Regiment and had served under General Kayani as ISI deputy director general.
Both Generals have superseded Lt Gen Haroon Aslam, currently Chief of Logistics Staff and the senior-most General after Kayani. He is scheduled to retire in April.
In a surprise move, Kayani had scotched speculation of a possible extension by issuing a statement on October 6 saying, “My tenure ends on 29th November 2013. On that day I will retire.”
A change of command ceremony has been planned for November 29. Sharif will on Wednesday host a farewell dinner for Kayani.
Lt Gen Sharif is the brother of Nishan-e-Haider medal recipient for valour, Shabbir Sharif, who was killed in the 1971 war with India.
Sharif is said to be a key player in developing new doctrines for COIN/CT, where the Infantry training manual has essentially been re-written under his watch to move the largest fighting arm and backbone of the Army from the traditional India-centric role to a more diversified counterinsurgency capacity.
Sharif is said to enjoy close connections with former army chiefs and top brass as well as Lahore’s political elite.
Mahmood, who enjoys good relation with the Nawaz family, is another key confidant of Kayani and is his Principal Staff Officer. He is seen as the Kayani’s second set of eyes.
Five Chief of General Staff – Yahya Khan, Gul Hassan Khan, Mirza Aslam Beg, Asif Nawaz and Jahangir Karamat – have made it to the post of Army chief while another three – Aziz Khan, Tariq Majid and Khalid Shameem Wynne – made it to CJCSC. Kayani was hand-picked by former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf as the army chief in 2007.
He was given an unprecedented three-year extension by then premier Yousuf Raza Gilani in 2010. (PTI)

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