A man behind COAS of Pakistan Gen. Raheel Sharif
By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Receiving news about a petition filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking an extension in tenure of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Monday morning (today), “negative side of a reporter” inside me tempted me to believe that this petition that was filed by Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi must be moved by circles of Pakistan Army to generate a justification to create an atmosphere in media as well as in the circles of intelligentsia of country in favour of extension of the chief. However, my heart kept saying me otherwise.
There are two faculties working in the mind of every human being. One is Reasoning (logical thinking) that is based on perception while perception is based on old experiences. The second faculty is Emotive—emotions. There is no reasoning involved in emotions because both are two contradictory responses of human mind. My emotions —that we call Heart – always says that General Raheel Sharif is different than others and he is not an ordinary man rather this man is beyond our perception since our perception for Pakistani Army is influenced by former chiefs including Gen Ayub Khan, Yehya Khan, Gen. Ziaul Haq, Gen Musharraf and Gen. Kiyani who wished to stay in power as long as it could be possible for them. Gen. Ziaul Haq and Gen Musharraf were scientists rather than chiefs of army staff and they had Pakistan as their laboratory.
Gen. Ziaul Haq and Gen Musharraf believed they were “inevitable” for Pakistan and country could not move an inch if they were removed. They strongly believed in personal agendas, greed of power and personality cult. They trusted only themselves not their institution—Pakistan Army not even Constitution of Pakistan and not even people of the country while Gen. Rahseel Sharif trusts his institution and says:
“Pakistan Army is a great institution. I don’t believe in extension”.
Gen. Raheel Sharif believes that national interest is supreme and will be safe guarded at all costs. He does not believe that he is the only person on earth who can guard national interest rather he trusts his institution and people around him who will replace him after his retirement and will keep guarding national interests.
Right after the news of petition filed in Supreme Court seeking extension of Gen. Raheel Sharif was broadcasted, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) responded immediately and said that speculations about extension in service of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif are baseless and he (COAS) will retire on due date.
General Raheel Sharif has to retire in November 2016 following the completion of three-year term. However, it was expected that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could grant an extension to the COAS. Now it is clear that Gen. Raheel Sharif will leave his office in November 2016 but he will be remembered in history for his services for the country and his firm but stiff resolve against terrorism. He is the architect of Zarb-e-Azb—an operation against terrorism in Pakistan that is bringing fruits and defeating terrorism that has been haunting and hunting Pakistan since last 15 years.
In a series of tweets on Monday, the Director General ISPR Lt. General Asim Saleem Bajwa said that General Raheel will retire on the due date and all speculations about extension in his service are baseless.
“Pakistan Army is a great institution. I don’t believe in extension,” General Raheel Sharif was quoted as saying by the DG ISPR. The COAS said that Pakistan’s national interest is supreme and will be safe guarded at all costs. He also said that efforts to root out terrorism will continue with full vigor and resolve.
Earlier this month, media reports said that the prime minister has decided to offer extension to the COAS General Raheel Sharif.
In September 2015, the former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf also called for extending the tenure of General Sharif and warned against a change in the military leadership.
His decision is unexpected for those who do not know him but very much expected for those who know him well. One of his former colleagues told me just a month ago that there is a man behind successful Gen. Raheel Sharif. My immediate question was –Who is he? His former colleague said:
“A young fearless Raheel who never involved in greed of power or quest of popularity.