While ruling out the rumors related to the extension of his service term, Pakistan Army General Raheel Sharif said he would retire after completing his present tenure which will end this November.
Speculations regarding the extension were high with media persons asking him to continue for another term, considering the wide popularity he enjoys within the country. His policies towards countering militancy and ensuring accountability of corrupt officials are highly held in the country. However, some of his well wishers are learned of advising him to complete the service and step down.
According to army spokesperson Asim Salim Bajwa, the speculation is baseless. He quoted Mr. Sharif saying,” “Pakistan Army is a great institution. I don’t believe in extension and will retire on the due date.” “Efforts to root out terrorism will continue with full vigour and resolve. Pakistan’s national interest is supreme and will be safe guarded at all costs.
This is a move against the precedent seen in Pakistan where army chiefs continue to extend their terms and often tries to topple the democratic government towards an army rule. Ex-President General Musharraf, who had toppled the then PM Nawaz Sharif-led government in a coup in 1999 following the Kargil war, gave himself extensions to his tenure as army chief from 2001-2008. His successor, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, remained in the coveted position for six years, after the previous Pakistan People’s Party government gave him a three-year extension in service in July 2010.