Karachi, Nov 23: It has been a while since Pakistan has seen an army chief such as General Raheel Sharif. While for India he was nothing short of a menace, in Pakistan he is hailed as a saviour and his photographs can be found on the back of lorries and of course not to mention the giant cut outs across the various cities.
The question on everyone's mind is who is will fill the General's shoes? It is a heavily guarded secret for now. The question is will General Sharif have his way or will Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff have the last word.
Here are the contenders:
Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday:
Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday, commander of Bahawalpur-based XXXI Corps is a name that is being considered seriously. He is the choice of the ruling party. He is the senior most of the generals and also has political backing. He comes from a political family. he is also credited with leading the 2009 operation against the Tehri-e-Taliban in the Swat valley.
Lt Gen Zubair Hayat:
Lt Gen Zubair Hayat, is the Chief of General Staff. Hailing from Lahore he is responsible for managing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. He has served as the director general of the Strategic Plans Division. He currently in charge of the intelligence and operational affairs at the army's General Headquaters. Hayat could be a compromise candidate since he is favoured both by the military and civilian leadership.
Lt. Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad:
Lt. Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad is the commander of the Multan-based II Corps. He was the man behind the preparations for Zar-e-Azb an operation launched to drive out militants from the tribal areas. This operation which was very close to the heart of General Raheel Sharrif was managed by Lt Gen Ahmed. He was also responsible for several operations against the Taliban insurgency. He was also the Director General of Military Operations and this gives gives him the advantage of taking over as the next general if merit is considered.
Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa:
Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa heads the army's training and evaluation wing. His name figures last in the list. He was the commander of the X-Corps which is responsible for the area along the Line of Control. His name being announced as the next General could in fact be a surprise choice.