The Pioneer, February 13, 2016
Arun Vishwanathan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies
The Pakistan Army has overarching influence on politics, economy, foreign and defence policy of the country. This has resulted in the coinage of the often-repeated aphorism, “most countries have armies, but the Pakistan Army has a country.” The chief of the Pakistan Army is the most powerful person in the country. Thus, the question of who will succeed General Raheel Sharif as the sixteenth chief of the Pakistan Army is a weighty one with repercussions for the region’s future.
Till recently, it was expected that General Raheel Sharif, like his predecessors General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and General Pervez Musharraf, would receive an extension. This sentiment had been strengthened by General Musharraf’s statement in September 2015 calling for extension of General Sharif’s tenure. On January 25, 2016 General Sharif put the speculation regarding his tenure to rest and revealed his plan to retire when his three-year term ends in November 2016. With the possibility of an extension out of the way, it is opportune to look at who could become the next chief of the Pakistan Army.
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