Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday, while taking a notice of statements about General (retired) Raheel Sharif, prohibited all Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders from making any “controversial” remarks related to the new role of the former army chief, Radio Pakistan has reported.
“The entire nation pays tribute to Gen (retired) Raheel Sharif for his meritorious services,” a third tweet by Radio Pakistan quoted the prime minister as having said.
Premier Nawaz’s directions to leaders of his party came days after Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair called Raheel Sharif ‘just another general’ and said he should not be made larger than life.
Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair had on April 7 remarked that the former army chief was “just another general and no one should make him larger than life”. “He is a normal general like any other generals and it’s his right to acquire the piece of land he was given. Let’s be fair with him – let’s not make him larger than life. This will only create more problems for him,” the Sindh governor had said.
Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique tried to dissociate the federal government from Zubair’s remarks soon after the Sindh governor made them. “The statement of the Sindh governor was his own statement and not the government’s stance,” Rafique said in a statement hours after the governor’s media talk.
Foreign Office spokesman for Nafees Zakria on March 31 had said that Pakistan has become a part of Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) of 34 Muslim countries while its Terms of Reference (ToRs) are yet to be formulated.
On November 27, 2013, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed him as the country’s army chief, some of Gen Raheel’s peers were not expecting him to reach the pinnacle of the military career.
For starters, Gen Raheel’s predecessor Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was believed to have recommended Gen Rashad Mahmood – former chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) – for the coveted slot. Beyond that, few within the military establishment thought Gen Raheel would be capable to take on the challenging role at the time because of lesser experience in combat command assignments. During his tenure, Gen Raheel defied all odds and proved his critics wrong.
When he took over the coveted post, Gen Raheel had been carrying the legacy of his elder brother Maj Shabbir Sharif and uncle Maj Aziz Bhatti, both of who were recipients of the country’s highest military honour.
But Gen Raheel created a legacy of his own which his successors will find extremely difficult, if not impossible, to match let alone surpass, say officials who have served under him or observed him closely during his stint army chief.
The experts say that the government’s unnecessary evasiveness and the clandestine manner in which Gen Raheel’s imminent appointment has been handled have created an impression of secret deals — an impression that must be emphatically dispelled in the parliament.
Raheel Sharif’s role pivotal: Imam-e-Kaaba
Imam-e-Kaaba Sheikh Saleh Bin Mohammad al Talib on Saturday said Gen (retd) Raheel will play a pivotal role in countering terrorism as head of the Saudi-led military alliance of 41 Muslim nations.
Speaking to a private news channel, he said by leading the alliance, the former army chief will only bring prestige to Pakistan.
“Pakistan is now a peaceful country … all credit for that goes to Gen (retd) Raheel Sharif and the government and people of Pakistan,” Sheikh Saleh said. “Raheel Sharif’s vast experience and knowledge will play a pivotal role in countering terrorism,” he added.
The Imam-e-Kaaba said the Saudi-led alliance will only strengthen ties between the member countries and the Muslim Ummah. He added that peace in Islamic countries will translate into peace in the world.