Pakistan Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif on Monday kicked off his farewell visits, nearly a week before he is expected to retire, the Inter-Services Public Relations announced.
The Army Chief began his visits at the Lahore Garrison where he addressed and thanked a huge gathering of soldiers of Pakistan Army and Rangers.
Addressing the soldiers, Gen Sharif said the accomplishment of peace and stability was “no ordinary task”.
“Our sacrifices and joint national resolve helped us in off-setting all odds against [the] country.”
Earlier in January, the Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa rubbished rumours regarding an extension in Gen Sharif’s tenure as Chief of Army Staff, quoting the Army Chief as saying he will “retire on the due date” in November this year.
The post of Army chief is the most powerful in Pakistan. On November 27, 2013, the government approved Sharif’s appointment for the post, a position that he took over from Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who stepped down on November 29, 2013.
Gen Sharif would be the first Army Chief in Pakistan to retire on time in two decades. His predecessors Gen Kayani and Gen Pervez Musharraf got extensions, while Gen Jehangir Karamat was sent home prematurely.