Friday, 24 June 2016

Raheel Sharif

General Raheel Sharif, راحیل شریف; born 16 June 1956), NI(M), HI(M), is a four-star rank army general, currently serving as 15th Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army, since 2013.

General Raheel Sharif was born in Quetta. He belongs to a Rajput family with roots in Punjab (in the town of Kunjah, Gujrat). He has a prominent military background, and is the son of (late) Major Rana Muhammad Sharif. His eldest brother Major Rana Shabbir Sharif, was declared as the martyr of Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 by Pakistan and received Pakistan's highest military award Nishan-e-Haider posthumously. He is the youngest sibling among three brothers and two sisters. His other brother, Captain Mumtaz Sharif, also bravely served in Pakistan army and for his bravery he was awarded Sitara-e- Basalat, but got an early retirement due to medical reasons. From his mother's side, he is nephew of Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, another Nishan-e-Haider recipient, who was declared as the martyr of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 by Pakistan. He is married and has three children, two sons and a daughter. He is an avid reader and enjoys hunting and swimming.

As the Inspector General for Training and Evaluation, he enhanced the military colleges in the country and provided unconventional warfare training to the troops. He also deals with the evaluation of military doctrines and war strategies with a view to shaping future training programs. He changed the army's focus more towards carrying out counter-insurgency operations against Taliban militants.

General Sharif has spearheaded a thinking in Pakistan military since 2007 that fighting Taliban inside Pakistan is more important than focusing on India, Pakistan's arch rival since independence.

On 27 November 2013, Sharif was appointed as the 15th Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. According to sources, General Sharif is said to be uninterested in politics with very positive and balanced views. But he was elevated over two more senior generals. Lieutenant General Haroon Aslam, a senior general, resigned over Sharif's elevation. The other more-senior general, Rashad Mahmood was appointed as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. The News reported that General Aslam may have been superseded because of his action in the 1999 coup.

In 2013, Sharif was conferred with Nishan-e-Imtiaz (military). Raheel Sharif will retire as Chief of Army Staff (Pakistan) in November 2016. In September 2015, Pervez Musharraf called for extending the tenure General Sharif and warned against a change in the military leadership, saying that "he was happy to see growing popularity of General Sharif because he was doing a wonderful job which needed to be continued. I wish he carries on with all this he is doing, What he is doing right now, it needs continuity and if there is any change in the leadership amidst this all, all good work which has been done so far would go in waste. So I can only wish and suggest that he should stay there.” However, General Raheel Sharif categorically stated that he does not believe in extension and he will retire on due date.

According to The Economist, "Unlike his predecessors, General Sharif appears to see jihadists, principally in the form of Pakistan’s own Taliban, as the country’s greatest threat, and is credited to have initiated the successful joint operation of Zarb-e-Azb"

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