Islamabad, Jan 27: The decision by General Raheel Sharif (Pakistan army chief) not to overstay in office has made news. It may come as a surprise as to why an army chief's decision not to extend his tenure is making so much news. This is mainly because he becomes the first army chief in Pakistan since 1998 not to overstay in office.
Although his tenure ends in November 2016, he had made a surprise statement a day back in which he said, " I do not believe in extension and will retire on the due date.
Why is the general's decision surprising?
While he is the first army chief in Pakistan since 1998 not to extend his tenure, people also draw comparisons to his immediate predecessors, General Pervez Musharaff and General Ashfaq Kayani. Musharaff had not only overstayed, but even topped the civilian government. Kayani on the other hand took the extension of three years given to him.
General Sharif is considered to be a sensible army chief. With this unprecedented announcement made almost 10 months in advance, he has put to rest all speculations. There have been speculations in Pakistan whether he would continue in office after November 2016 also. Experts say that he has done his job and wants to ensure that there is a smooth transition.
In addition to this, General Sharif also wants to ensure that the job of picking his successor is done early so that the person in question is prepared.
Pakistan has been battling terrorists with the army taking the lead in the past couple of years. General Sharif wants to ensure that this exercise continues and no time is wasted in talking about his retirement plans.
A report in the Pakistan's Tribune states that the army chief's ‘clear thinking' reflected in some of the crucial decisions he has made, such as launching a full-scale military offensive in North Waziristan Agency and supporting the democratic setup despite anti-government protests in August 2014.
When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri descended on Islamabad with tens of thousands of supporters to oust the premier, Gen Raheel assured the beleaguered premier that the army had no interest in removing him from power. "History shows that he lived up to his words. the Tribune also reported.