Ending weeks of rampant speculation, on 27th November Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Lieutenant General Raheel Sharif as Chief of Army Staff. Prior to his appointment General Sharif was serving as Inspector General Training and Evaluation. Previous posts include include Commander, Gujranwala XXX Corps, Commandant of Pakistan Military Academy Kakul and General Officer Commanding Lahore.
Lieutenant General Rashad Mahmood has been appointed Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee. Preceding his appointment, General Mahmood was serving as Chief of General Staff. General Mahmood has also previously served as the Corps Commander of Lahore. He was also the military secretary to former President Rafiq Tarar. Mahmood comes from the Baloch Regiment and had served under General Kayani as ISI deputy director general.
These two key appointments were announced just before General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s retirement from his post of army chief on 29th November. In an unprecedented move, General Kayani’s term as army chief was extended in July 2010 by the PPP-led coalition government.
On announcing his retirement, General Kayani said, “For quite some time, my current tasks and likely future plans have been debated in the media with all sorts of rumors and speculations doing the rounds. The topic of being entrusted with new duties has also come up in several reports. I am grateful to the political leadership and the nation for reposing their trust in me and Pakistan Army at this important juncture of our national history. However, I share the general opinion that institutions and traditions are stronger than individuals and must take precedence.
As I complete my tenure the will of the people has taken root and a constitutional order is in place. The armed forces of Pakistan fully support and want to strengthen this democratic order. Pakistan Army has made its contribution towards this desired end with complete clarity of mind and a comprehensive understanding of the trajectory Pakistan needs to take. They have also proven, on countless occasions, through their priceless sacrifices that the defence and prosperity of Pakistan is their highest priority.”
Commenting on the end of his six-year term, General Kayani spoke of the importance of ensuring continuity of the democratic process, “It is time for others to carry forward the mission of making Pakistan a truly democratic, prosperous and peaceful country that embodies the finest dreams our founding fathers had envisaged for us.”