General Raheel likely to be given field marshal’s rank

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  • The post is honourary and does not come with any powers
  • Nizami says new army chief will be appointed on schedule

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to decorate the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif as Field Marshal in recognition to his meritorious services in the war against terrorism, especially for leading the successful Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

Field marshal is a very senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually it is the highest rank in an army, and few, if any, are ever appointed to it. It is considered as a five-star rank (OF-10) in modern-day armed forces in many countries.

General Ayub Khan is the only General in the country’s history who promoted himself as Field Marshal, in 1965.

Seasoned journalist Arif Nizami told Pakistan Today that the decision had been taken by the civilian leadership after taking the army chief into confidence.

“However, it has been decided in principle that the army chief will not be given an extension in his service. Rather, the new army chief will be appointed on schedule,” he added.

Nizami said in his talk show DNA on Channel 24 that COAS Raheel Sharif may continue providing his services in one form or another. He said that due to his great services to the country, especially for his role in crushing terrorists and protecting the country from the menace of terrorism, he may also render his services for an anti-terrorism role, such as being made an “anti-terrorism tsar.”

Veteran jurist Senator SM Zafar told Pakistan Today that there is no need for any amendment to the Army Act 1952 for appointment of General Sharif as Field Marshal.

“There is no need for any amendment in the army act or the constitution. The army has to make a declaration in this regard,” he said.

Asked what powers would be enjoyed by General Sharif after the appointment as Field Marshal, Zafar said that there would be no powers at all.

“It is a ceremonial office – a recognition to the services of a general in a war. No powers, no salaries involved,” he added.

He said that a field marshal also does not retire because it’s a ceremonial office.

“It is just like an ambassador at large or a senator who does not retire. It’s a mere recognition to his services and nothing else,” S M Zafar explained.

A source in the federal government also confirmed that the proposal had been doing the rounds in the military and government circles for some time.

“Field Marshal is an honourary rank. It’s given to the rarest of rare Generals for extraordinary military service,” the source in the Defence Ministry said, requesting not being named.

The source added that the prime minister wanted to reward General Sharif for his meritorious services in the war against terrorism as well as for the democratic process.

“General Raheel is seen with respect for his role during the Dharna days in 2014. He did not take advantage at a time when the civilian regime was in tatters and many generals wanted to overthrow the government. However, General Sharif proved to be a saviour of the democratic setup,” the source added.

“General Raheel Sharif has also successfully commanded Operation Zarb-e-Azb and taken the courageous stance of ousting terrorist outfits from North Waziristan. He is also credited for bringing about a paradigm shift in the military’s top brass as he advocated that Pakistan faced an internal threat from terrorists rather than an external threat. This idea overhauled military’s strategy,” the source added.

The sources said that General Raheel Sharif had also played a key role in improving the country’s relations with its neighbours and partners, just like a true diplomat.

“When the prime minister and his team were facing difficulties on the global stage, General Sharif came forward and played his role in improving relations with Afghanistan, United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia,” the source added.

The source said that General Sharif led the country’s strategic dialogue with the US and improved relations and partnership against terrorism in Afghanistan.

Moreover, General Sharif also played a key role in making China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a success.

“At a time when the civilian leadership created misperceptions about the CPEC by using it for gaining political mileage, leaving the Chinese top leadership concerned about the fate of the game-changing project, it was none other than Raheel Sharif who made successive trips to China and gave them an unequivocal assurance that the military will ensure timely completion of the CPEC,” the source added.

The source said that it was General Sharif who led the way for civilian leadership by reaching wherever leadership was required.

“Whether there was a bomb blast or a natural disaster – General Sharif was the first to reach the scene. Whenever a festival arrived, Raheel either went to forward posts on the border or he was among combat troops fighting against the enemy. He was visible and on the go all the time, showing the civilian leadership how a leader should act,” the source added.

20 COMMENTS

  1. The rank of Field Marshal is normally conferred on a senior military officer in recognition of his spectacular success against at least an equal, if not a stronger enemy. However, General Raheel Sharif partial success against a rag-tag army of militants and terrorists lacking heavy artillery, tanks and fighter jets hardly fits this description. Moreover, General Raheel Sharif's partial victory is against a menace brought on to the country and the nation by General Ziaul Haq, and amounts to little more than partial error-correction.

    So, perhaps this move is motivated by considerations other than merit.

    Maybe our corrupt politicians want to pass benefits around so that all powerful persons get something. They perhaps think that General Raheel Sharif would be thrilled becoming a Field Marshal and will reciprocate the gesture by dropping all objections to their corruption and criminal neglect of duties and they, and their ill-gotten wealth, would be perfectly safe.

    Karachi

    • Agree with your last sentences. He is unlikely to drop his demand for " accountability across the board". Gen RS has done what he was supposed to as CAOS but also has done half of the work in and out of the country which the inept and corrupt civilian set-up was supposed to.

    • although i am not in favor of awarding these promotions, but since the general will retire on schedule and we are fighting a real war, the award of field marshal rank seems justified. we have to remember that the general raheel has succeeded where the largest and most powerful army in the world has failed in Afghanistan. terrorism is not a small thing and rickety guerrilla warfare has been known to have destroyed the most well equipped oppositions. So the success of zarb-i-azb fully justifies the award of field marshal rank. additionally your theories with regards to corruption and collusion are totally without evidence and so we cannot hold them against this move. the general has held up his principals till now and there is no reason to suspect that he will fall in the coming days.

  2. General Raheel Sharif at the moment is the only hope for pakistan in curbing the menace of the terrorism. It would be highly commendable act to make him the Field Marshal ! Please Prime Minister of Pakistan !! Take this Step Surely this step will Make Pakistan Stronger

    • @BilalKhan : Well i assume you must be the member of the Hooligan party known as PMLN and you sound more like Anti-Pakistani and Anti-PakArmy element , i assume you might be supporting ISIS in Pakistan because #ThankYouRaheelSharif hurts you !! Right ?? You should be ashamed of yourself for making fun of the Only Hope for Pakistan Stability.Don't Forget you and your Family also Live in this Country if this Country goes out of track then you and your family will be crucified … OH YES i forgot you are anti-Pak Army and PRO-ISIS so you don't care anyway!

      • PMLN is the hooligan party? have they been organizing the dharnas or the rallies to topple this system? No, the PMLN was the one which gave the go ahead for the military operations and supported them through out their duration. you really are confused!

  3. General Raheel is a true son of the soil and a spirited patriot. He hails from a family enjoying the status of national icons of Pakistan. He has served the motherland with true conviction and thorough commitment. He genuinely deserves the laurels he is likely to be honored and bestowed upon. The peoples of Pakistan love him and hold him in very high regards. May he remain blessed with excellent health and enjoy jouissance of life and existence!

  4. You can’t have two swords in one casing. This arrangement will benefit the politicians as new chief will be over shadowed by the FM. I think RS shouldn’t opt to be a puppet after so much of pro-activism.

  5. Gen Raheel Shareef should get extension instead of Field Marshal with no powers “if so” . Nation is at the turning point , India has joined hands with Afghan Regime , Iran has turned against Pakistan , Hassan Rouhani, Modi and Ashraf Ghani have signed a an agreement on port of Chabahar which will be used against Pakistan . Americans are destabilizing Pakistan , They give a green signal to Pakistan to talk to Talibans and then the very next day make a drawn attack , why don’t they see Talibans in Iran , aren’t there any ?? it has been going on since long. This is the right time to to make new allies and resist before it’s to late . Our foreign policy has failed , in other words we don’t have any foreign policy. Pakistan Army has given assurances for CPEC to the Chinese government . For the betterment of our Country our generations we need Gen to stay

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