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No one could dare cast an evil eye on Pakistan: army chief

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LAHORE: As his three-year term ends this month, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel began a round of farewell visits on Monday, his spokesman said, damping speculation he might receive an extension.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), General Raheel began his farewell meetings from the walled city of Lahore during which he addressed and thanked a huge gathering of army and Rangers officials.

Gen Raheel said that Operation Zarb e Azb had resulted into a more secure and stable Pakistan with a sense of greater hope and direction.

“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 .

 

“It was not easy to restore peace in the country,” said COAS while speaking to the army and Rangers officials at Lahore Garrison.

“Pakistan army achieved successes due to sacrifices and mutual national determine,” continued the army chief.

“We are ready to face any sort of situation,” said the army chief and warned that “No one should dare to challenge Pakistan and its armed forces.”

Earlier on arrival at the venue, Lieut General Sadiq Ali, Commander 4 Corps received COAS, General Raheel Sharif.

The army spokesman, Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa, in January, had rubbished rumours regarding an extension in General Sharif’s tenure as COAS, quoting the army chief as saying he would ‘retire on the due date’ this November.

Pakistan’s beloved army chief

The premier had named the then Lieutenant-General Raheel Sharif, brother of a war hero, on November 27, 2013, to take charge of the world’s sixth-largest army, with a formal handover from General Ashfaq Kayani.

COAS Sharif always considered the militant threat inside Pakistan as important as the strategic tussle with India.

The army chief received his military commission in 1976 and studied military leadership in Germany, Canada and Britain. He commanded several infantry units, including the Sixth Frontier Force Regiment along the disputed Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.

His brother, Major Shabbir Sharif, received two of the country’s highest military awards for his action during the 1971 India-Pakistan war in which he was killed.

 

List of contenders

According to three close aides to the prime minister and a senior military official, the military high command has sent the prime minister the dossiers of four main contenders.

The premier’s favourite, the aides said, was Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal Ramday, commander of XXXI Corps who led a 2009 operation to drive the Pakistani Taliban militant movement from Swat Valley near the Afghan border.

The three other dossiers are for Lieutenant General Zubair Hayat, Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad, commanding officer in the eastern city of Multan, and Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who heads the army’s Training and Evaluation Wing.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has until November 28 to name his choice of a replacement for the retiring army chief.

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