The incumbent army chief on January 25 had said that he does not ‘believe in extension and will retire on due date’. The decision was hailed by Asif Ali Zardari in hours to follow.
But, today’s statement by the co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stunned political circles after 28 days of his earlier assertion.
“As the country is through a sensitive phase, PPP considers Gen Sharif’s decision premature,” Zardari said in a statement. “The decision can transform people’s hopes into disappointment, while it may also give a negative perception.”
He went on to say that it is not adequate to search for military’s role in political affairs, accountability and other matters, suggesting nation and media not to spread such speculations.
The PPP co-chairman said: “The sacrifices of the armed forces helped improve law and order situation in the country. The country achieved significant success in the war against terrorism.”
He expressed hopes that in the fearless and thoughtful leadership of General Raheel Sharif the country struggle to root out terrorism will soon reach a logical end.
“However, continuity of military leadership is utmost necessary in order to rid country of terrorism menace,” he said.
On January 25, nearly a month ago, Asif Ali Zardari said the decision of not taking extension by the army chief was ‘admirable and the tradition of getting extension in service should not gain roots in the country’.