New GHQ boss: Four stars and top slot for Raheel

PM Nawaz picks third in line to take over from Gen Kayani; Lt Gen Rashad gets keys to CJCSC office.

Kamran Yousaf November 27, 2013
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif poses for a picture with services chiefs and the newly appointed COAS and CJCSC, at farewell dinner given to outgoing army chief Gen Pervez Kayani. PHOTO INP


The guessing game is over. The prime minister has put an end to months of speculation about who will get the most coveted and possibly the most powerful position in the country. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will hand the baton to his successor General Raheel Sharif, who will become Pakistan’s 15th Army chief as of Friday (tomorrow).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif finally made one of the most crucial decisions of his tenure on Wednesday as he picked Gen Raheel as Chief of the Army Staff and Gen Rashad Mahmood as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

An official statement was issued that promoted both the military commanders to the rank of four-star generals from three-star lieutenant-generals. Generals Raheel and Mahmood will formally take charge of their new assignments on November 29 as, the day outgoing army chief General Kayani retires after serving six years as head of the institution.

However, contrary to pre-election promises, PM Nawaz did not strictly follow the principle of seniority as General Raheel was third in line of promotion. The announcement means that Lt Gen Haroon Aslam, the chief of logistics who was the senior-most general after Kayani, was superseded and hence will now resign.

Sources told The Express Tribune that during the pre-appointment consultations, Kayani had suggested the prime minister pick General Rashad Mahmood as his successor as well as keep the post of CJCSC with the army (by giving it to Lt-Gen Aslam).

While the prime minister accepted his demand by selecting Gen Mahmood as CJCSC, which is mostly a ceremonial post, he ignored his nominee proposition for the position of army chief.

Before the formal announcement, Nawaz Sharif held separate meetings with the new COAS and CJCSC designates at the Prime Minister House.

The new army chief has to deal with many challenges, including the fight against militancy, the crucial transition in Afghanistan, and ensuring a smooth civil-military relationship.

Gen Raheel: from a family of soldiers

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the new Chief of Army Staff hails from a “martial stock” as his father also served as an army major, while his elder brother Major Shabbir Sharif was awarded the highest military award, Nishan-e-Haider, for his bravery in the 1971 war with India.

Gen Raheel Sharif was born in Quetta on June 16, 1956, to Major and Mrs Muhammad Sharif. He is alumnus of Govt College, Lahore, and Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) from where he graduated from the 54th PMA Long Course.

He was commissioned in October 1976 in the battle-hardened and renowned 6th Battalion, the Frontier Force Regiment – the same battalion in which his elder brother had embraced martyrdom.

As a young officer, he performed his duties in Gilgit in an Infantry Brigade and also served as Adjutant of Pakistan Military Academy. He did the Company Commander Course from Germany and subsequently served in the prestigious School of Infantry and Tactics as an instructor.

He attended the Command and Staff College, Canada, graduating with distinction. He carries a vast experience of command, staff and instructional appointments.

PM Nawaz picks third in line to take over from Gen Kayani; Lt Gen Rashad gets keys to CJCSC office.

He served as the brigade major of an infantry brigade and has commanded two infantry units: 6 Frontier Force Regiment at Kashmir along the Line of Control and 26 Frontier Force Regiment along the Sialkot border.

Gen Raheel remained on the faculty of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, and attended Armed Forces War Course at National Defence University, Islamabad, in 1998. As brigadier, he commanded two infantry brigades, including an Independent Infantry Brigade Group.

The general has had the honour of being the chief of staff of two Corps – the 30 Corps and the 12 Corps. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Royal College of Defence Studies, United Kingdom.

He has been the general officer commanding (GOC) of an infantry division and the Commandant of the PMA. As a lieutenant-general, he served as Corps Commander, XXXI Corps, for two years before taking over as inspector general, training and evaluation, overseeing the training of Pakistan Army.

He is an avid reader and enjoys hunting and swimming, according to the ISPR.

Gen Mahmood: The spy general and instructor

The CJCSC-designate was commissioned in May 1975 in the Baloch Regiment. He has attended the Company Commander Course from France and graduated from Command and Staff College, Canada, and National Defence College, Islamabad.

He has as varied experience of command, staff and instructional appointments as well. His major appointments include platoon commander, Pakistan Military Academy; brigade major, Infantry Brigade, and instructor at Command & Staff College and National Defence College.

He has remained Chief of Staff, Bahawalpur Corps, and military secretary to the president during Nawaz Sharif’s second government.

Gen Mahmood has commanded two infantry battalions, two infantry brigades and the United Nations contingent at Congo, and Infantry Division at Jhelum. He was director-general ‘C’ (counter-terrorism) at Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Directorate, Islamabad, and Commander of the Lahore Corps.

Later, he took over as chief of general staff in January this year.

He has been conferred with Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military).

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2013.


Balach Tahir Baluch | 9 years ago | Reply @Muhammad: Oh wow, he better prepare hard to impress you! Fool, to impress the likes of you is not his concern. He knows his responsibilities, and if you don't support your Army, you can happily walk across the border. You belong on the other side.
Absar | 9 years ago | Reply

@A. Khan

The fact that there are no wars is what they've done to deserve all these accolades.

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