Mr. McCain in an exclusive interview with ARY News said: “General Raheel Sharif is an outstanding leader and I hope that he would be able to continue to serve the country in very difficult times.”
He said Gen Sharif enjoys complete command on military matters. He also stated that the COAS can help improve Pak-US relations.
In January this year, the army chief had issued a statement, saying he doesn’t believe in extension of his service and at the same time asserted that he will retire on the due date [that falls in November 2016].
Senator McCain made no secret of his admiration for the army chief and termed him an able military officer.
He said the Pak army chief and other officials had some reservations over Afghan policy.
The US senator said he was shocked to discover Pak Army had lost its 6,000 soldiers in the war on terror.
On July 3, Mr. McCain had expressed support for Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against the Taliban after visiting North Waziristan recently retaken by the military.
A four-member, bipartisan US Senate delegation led by the former presidential candidate went to North Waziristan, where in 2014 the army launched an operation to wipe out militant bases.
“Good delegation mtg w/ Chief of Army Staff of #Pakistan Gen Raheel Sharif & discussing regional security challenges,” McCain said on his verified Twitter account, also posting photos of the delegation’s visit to Waziristan.
Pakistan was angered over a recent US drone strike which killed the Taliban’s leader Mullah Akthar Mansour in May in Balochistan. The US Congress also blocked the subsidised sale of eight F-16 jet fighters to Pakistan in May accusing of it of being lax in the fight against militants.