- Title: Pakistan army chief begins farewell visits
- Date: 21st November 2016
- Summary: KHAIRPUR TAMIWALI, PAKISTAN (RECENT - NOVEMBER 16, 2016) (REUTERS) FIELD SET FOR EXERCISE RAAD UL BARQ (STRIKE OF THUNDER) CONVOY CARRYING PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF AND ARMY CHEIF GENERAL RAHEEL SHARIF ARRIVING AT EXERCISE FIELD ARMY CHIEF RAHEEL SHARIF DRIVING JEEP WITH PM SHARIF SEATED NEXT TO HIM ARMY CHIEF RAHEEL SHARIF WALKING WITH PRIME MINISTER TOWARDS GUESTS' STAND TANKS FIRING SHARIF WATCHING
- Embargoed: 6th December 2016 11:38
- Keywords: army chief Raheel Sharif farewell retirement
- Location: No-Data-Available
- City: No-Data-Available
- Country: Pakistan
- Topics: Defence,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00259DZOLH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Pakistan's powerful army chief Raheel Sharif began a round of farewell visits on Monday (November 21), his spokesman said, damping speculation he might receive an extension when his three-year term ends this month.
The general has been immensely popular among ordinary Pakistanis, who see him as having effectively tackled crime and corruption, besides carrying the fight against Islamist terrorism to unstable tribal areas.
Sharif, who is due to retire on November 29, had never said he would seek an extension, but speculation of such a move has recently been rife in the media and among politicians.
The army has ruled Pakistan for roughly half its 69-year history, and tension with civilian governments - including that of current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - often runs high.
Sharif himself was ousted from power in 1999 by a military coup.
Pakistan's last two army chiefs, including Pervez Musharraf, who led the coup against Sharif, were both given extensions.
Prime Minister Sharif has until November 28 to name his choice of a replacement for the retiring army chief. Typically, the military provides the prime minister the dossiers of three or four contenders from which to choose.
The succession will also be closely watched overseas.
With nearly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting the Afghan Taliban and other militant groups, Washington is losing patience with what it calls Pakistan's failure to hunt down insurgents who launch attacks on Afghanistan from Pakistani territory. Pakistan denies this.
India has also ratcheted up rhetoric against Pakistan, alarmed at an escalation of violence in the disputed region of Kashmir, where an attack on an army base killed 18 soldiers. Islamabad denies accusations it was behind the raid.
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