Home Contact Us  

Pakistan - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4199, 28 November 2013
Pakistan: New Army Chief Lt Gen Raheel Sharif
D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS
Email: subachandran@ipcs.org

After months of suspense and questions, the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan has appointed the next Army Chief, who will take over following the retirement of Gen Kayani.

An Orderly Succession?
Lt Gen Raheel Sharif, who was third in line, was finally appointed by Nawaz Sharif as his next Chief of Army Staff. Though Nawaz Sharif has superseded two more Generals - Haroon Aslam and Rashid Mehmood - in appointing Raheel Sharif as the next Army Chief, he has not done anything out of the ordinary. He has only chosen from the three options offered to him, and has requested the President to appoint Gen Raheel Sharif as the next Army Chief.

Though Gen Haroon Aslam was the senior most, he was superseded. The next in line, Gen Rashid Mehmood, has been appointed as the Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff Committee.

It appears to be an orderly succession, as Gen Kayani’s retirement and the appointment of his successor are as per schedule, although there was prolonged suspense about Kayani getting an extension.

Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staffs: Fourth Time Lucky?
 Gen Raheel Sharif is the fourth Chief of Army Staff that Nawaz is appointing as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The first two ended up in total disasters, while the third one was a lesser problem. The first time was almost twenty years ago in 1993, when he appointed Gen Abdul Waheed Kakar. Ever since, Nawaz Sharif’s luck with the COAS handpicked by him, often superseding senior,s have only backfired. Gen Kakar did not support Nawaz Sharif when there was a political deadlock between the PM and the President, and ultimately, Nawaz Sharif had to resign in 1993.

The second COAS that Sharif appointed was a complete disaster not just for him personally, but also for civil-military relations. In 1998, after a resounding electoral victory, Nawaz Sharif appointed Gen Musharraf as the COAS. What happened next forms the contemporary history of Pakistan. Coup, exile and trial followed, with both Musharraf and Sharif being exiled by each other. Now, Musharraf is facing trial for treason.

Sharif’s third COAS was a disaster for both him and his nominee. Gen Ziauddin Butt was nominated as the COAS, dismissing Gen Musharraf; but the latter responded with a coup, which was followed by placing Nawaz Sharif in jail and later exiling him. There were rumours that “Lt Gen Ziauddin was the architect of the secret operation that envisioned the official announcement of his promotion to the post of COAS once Gen Pervez Musharraf boarded PIA Flight PK 805 in Colombo for a journey that severed his contact with the GHQ.” Whatever may be the truth, the coup that followed resulted in both Sharif and Gen Butt being imprisoned.

While the relationship between Gen Kakar and Sharif did not rupture his relationship with the military, his two other appointments created a huge divide between him and the GHQ. Although Sharif was propped up by the military in the late 1980s against Benazir Bhutto, today, the relationship is strained. In fact, it all started with the resignation of Gen Karamat.

Who is Gen Raheel Sharif? And Why Him?
The media is full of stories providing a profile of the new COAS in Pakistan, mostly based on the information provided by the press release of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

What is important to know is his relationship with the Prime Minister, and whether he would remain apolitical like his predecessor Gen Kayani. More importantly, what would be his perception of the TTP? These two issues are crucial to repair the civil-military relations under the two Sharifs.

It is believed that Gen Raheel Sharif is closer to the Defence Minister Khwaja Asif, who in turn is considered to be a staunch family friend of the Sharifs. Other than the above, there is not much available in open sources in terms of why Gen Raheel Sharif was chosen by Nawaz Sharif.

Perhaps Nawaz Sharif decided to choose someone who is better known within the list of three names he was provided with. He could have handpicked from even outside the list, but that would have further widened the gap between the two institutions and made Nawaz Sharif suspect. Nawaz may have wanted to play safe and not to antagonise the GHQ at this stage. He cannot afford to do so, given the volatile internal political situation and his own relationship with the military.

Even if he had picked a successor from outside the list of three names, there would have no guarantee about the COAS’ loyalty to Sharif, given past history. Nawaz Sharif’s choices were limited and perhaps he wished to play it safe by choosing Gen Raheel Sharif, who is known to his Defence Minister.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

Related Articles
Rana Banerji,
"Pakistan: The Military Shuffle and Consolidation under the New Chief," 26 December 2013
Rana Banerji,
"Pakistan: Who will be the next Army Chief?," 16 September 2013
Rana Banerji,
"Special Commentary: The Military and Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan," 5 June 2013
Rana Banerji,
"Pakistan: President versus Judiciary versus Military," 21 November 2012

Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Will the Genie Want to Go Back?

The Fall of Rajapaksa: Why Democracies Fail Strongmen

Pakistan: The Military Courts

From Kashmir to Kabul

A Fractured Mandate: The Big Picture

And Now, They Are Coming For Our Children

Pak-Afghan Reset: Will the Taliban and al Qaeda follow?

Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues

Rise India, avoid regional pitfalls

Foreign Fighters of Pakistan: Why Pashtuns and Punjabis?

Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?

The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping: Strong Leaders, Hard Issues

Pakistan: The Coup that didn’t take

Pakistan: Crouching Democrats, Hidden Khakis

Processes at the cost of peace?

Cost of Peace

Rise of Democratic Anarchists

Don’t steal the election now

Mullah Fazlullah: Challenges to the “Eliminate or Extradite” Approach

The Tahirul Qadri Affair

Dhaka as the Gateway to India’s Look East Policy

Modi, Sharif and the Cross-LoC Interactions

Region by Sub-regions

Civil-Military Equations in Pakistan: Que Sera Sera

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.