Raheel Sharif is new Pak army chief
Islamabad, November 27
Lt Gen Rashad Mahmood, seen as a favourite of outgoing chief Gen Ashfaque Pervez Kayani, was promoted to the largely ceremonial post of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC). Both Raheel and Rashid separately met the Prime Minister in Islamabad on Wednesday who informed them of their appointment.
In another significant development, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani (64), known as a "gentleman judge", was today named Pakistan's new Chief Justice, replacing activist judge Iftikhar Chaudhry, who led a crusade against corruption and misgovernance.
President Mamnoon Hussain cleared Jillani's elevation. His appointment will come into effect from December 12, a day after Chaudhry, the longest serving Chief Justice, retires. The President is to administer oath to the new chief justice as per the Constitution.
Gen Sharif comes from a family of soldiers. His elder brother, Shabbir Sharif, died in the 1971 war with India and is the recipient of the country's highest gallantry award Nishan-e-Haider.
"On the advice of the Prime Minister and pursuant to the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President and the supreme commander of the armed forces is pleased to approve the promotion and posting of the two generals, with effect from November 28," said a top Pakistani official.
The appointment of Lt Gen Sharif comes amid tensions on the border with India and Pakistan's fight with Taliban insurgency and increased violence in the country.
Pakistani analysts view Gen Sharif, who will head the 600,000-strong Army, as a moderate who sees the militant threat inside Pakistan as just important as the strategic tussle with India.
Gen Sharif is said to be a key player in developing new doctrines, 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.
"He is a good professional. He is a good soldier. I think he will pursue civilian government's policy on India provided there is reciprocity," said Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood.
Asked if he was a hardliner, Gen Masood said, "I don't think so, but is one who knows his duty well."
His stewardship resulted in fructification of Pakistan Army's operational thought and doctrinal response to the much-vaunted Cold Start doctrine of Indian Army, according to Gen Sharif's bio-data released by the Pakistan military's media wing ISPR.
"He is stable, calm, mature and moderate individual. There is not going to be any major shift in policy matters as about institutions," said former military spokesperson Maj Gen (retd) Athar Abbas.
Gen Sharif's appointment comes at a crucial time for Pakistan and ahead of the beginning of pullout of international forces from neighbouring war-torn Afghanistan and negotiations between Pakistani Taliban and the Sharif government.
This is the third time Sharif has chosen an Army Chief. He picked Abdul Waheed Kakar for the post in 1993 but the General soon ditched him and played a key rule in Sharif's resignation. Kakar had superseded at least four senior generals.