Pak army’s new leader takes over
The new leader of Pakistan’s army took office Friday, amid the country’s struggle against militants and ahead of next year’s withdrawal of international troops from neighbouring Afghanistan.
General Raheel Sharif, a career infantry officer, replaced General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, who held the post for six years.
Sharif, 57, has contributed to lessening the military’s single-minded animosity towards India, the country’s nemesis since independence from Britain in 1947, according to a fellow officer.
He is also credited with boosting opposition to Islamist militants from within the rank and file, and has trained units for low-intensity, anti-insurgency conflicts, according to a former general and commanding officer of Sharif.
The new army chief’s approach to the militants would be key to stability in the region, said Hassan Askari Rizvi, an analyst based in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.
“He needs to realize that it is an important phase to deal with the conflict, and that his role is critical,” he said.