Sun, Dec 4, 2016 | updated 07:28 AM IST

Outgoing army chief General Raheel Sharif pays farewell visits to president, PM

Updated: Nov 28, 2016 13:48 IST
Islamabad [Pakistan], Nov.28 (ANI): Pakistan's outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif paid farewell visits to President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday.

A Radio Pakistan report said that General Sharif will retire on November 29, and will hand over charge to new army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif both lauded General Raheel Sharif's valuable services as army chief and wished him the best for his post-retirement life.

General Sharif told journalists that he would like to dedicate his post-retirement life to the welfare of the families of slain soldiers.

Back in 2013 when General Kayani announced that he would not take an extension for a second time, General Raheel Sharif was not among the favourites in the race for army chief. Even after he beat all the odds to become the chief, his detractors continued to doubt him saying he lacked intelligence and an operations background.

But he did not allow those shortcomings to become a handicap and proved everyone wrong.

The high point in his tenure was the start of Operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan against the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in June 2014, something from which his predecessor shied away fearing a blowback. The operation is now in its last stages. He is also credited for action against militancy in Karachi and partially restoring calm in the city.

General Sharif has all along been supportive of the government, except for a statement at the corps commanders' conference last November when he expressed reservations over civilian administration's governance. The comment presented the spectacle of a row between the civilian and military leadership. He has, nevertheless, maintained strong influence over the government's foreign and national security policies.

The general garnered unprecedented popularity among the general public and on social media. (ANI)