Gen Raheel farewell visits

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Speculations rife about new COAS

Sophia Siddiqui

rawalpindi—Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif put to rest all speculations about getting any extension in service by kicking off his farewell visits on Monday. This also triggered speculations on who will replace him in what is seen as the most powerful seat.
On Monday the Chief of Army Staff in his first farewell visit met the soldiers and personnel of rangers in Lahore.
In his address, the Army Chief said accomplishment of peace and stabilty is no ordinary task. He said our sacrifices and joint national resolve helped us in offsetting all odds against the country.
Army Chief thanked all ranks of the Army and Rangers for their services under his command. He said it was a matter of great pride for him to have commanded the finest Army in the World.
Raheel Sharif said it was our sacrifices and joint national resolve that helped us in off setting all odds against our country.
He emphasized that we are fully prepared to respond any challenge and no one could dare cast an evil eye on Pakistan.
General Raheel said that Operation Zarb-e-Azb has resulted into a more secure and stable Pakistan with a sense of greater hope and direction. He said Pakistani people are the most resilient and brave nation in the world who have always persevered in adverse conditions. He urged the troops to follow the norms of their rich military tradition with even greater vigor and continue serving their people with utmost dedication, resilience and greater sense of sacrifice.
Earlier on arrival at the venue, Lieutenant General Sadiq Ali, Commander-4 Corps received army Chief General Raheel Sharif.
Soon after the news break on the electronic media, debate also started as to who will be the new Army Chief.
According to the seniority list, Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Zubair Hayat is the senior most followed by Multan Corps Commander Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed, Bahawalpur Corps Commander Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday and Inspector General Training and Evaluation Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Lt. Gen. Zubair Mehmood Hayat remained on important appointments like Corps Commander Bahawalpur and Director General Strategic Plans Division before assuming his present office. He was also Principal Staff Officer with former Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as a Brigadier. His retirement is due in January 2017.
Lt. Gen. Ishfaq Nadeem, who had been Chief of General Staff and was also Director General Military Operations. Presently, he is commanding Multan Corps.
Lt. Gen. Javed Iqbal is another prominent officer from 62nd Long Course, who is presently commanding Bahawalpur Corps and was previously president of National Defence University. His retirement is due in August 2017.
Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is also among the runners who was previously Commander of important Rawalpindi Corps and is presently employed as Inspector General Training and Evaluation, at GHQ, a position General Raheel Sharif held before becoming the army chief. His retirement is due in August 2017.
However, it is the prerogative of the prime minister to appoint the Army Chief by promoting a three-star general to a four-star General. According to sources, Ishfaq Nadeem and Qamar Javed Bajwa are the serious contenders for the slot of Army Chief while Lt General Zubair Mehmood Hayat for the slot of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. However, the sources said the final decision rests with the prime minister.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Monday that General Raheel Sharif will send a list of senior most general to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Khawaja Asif said Pakistan’s next Army chief will be chosen by the prime minister. “The prime minister will decide on a name after first consulting the COAS (General Raheel), colleagues and cabinet member.”
“General Raheel Sharif had several successes during his tenure. No other Army in the world has achieved such success against terrorism. I think that General Raheel Sharif is leaving a legacy which he and the armed forces can be proud of,” Asif said.

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