Fresh banners in Karachi call for army chief’s extension

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Move On Pakistan, a group of pro-military people, has installed fresh banners and posters pleading Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif not to relinquish his job and to continue offering his services in greater national interest, it emerged on Saturday.

The call for General Raheel Sharif to take an extension comes a month before his retirement. This is the fourth time that banners have re-sprouted in favour of the army chief, but this time the group unlike its previous calls demanded the federal government grant an extension to General Raheel Sharif.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had made it clear that it had nothing to do with the posters and banners begging for military coup in parts of the country,

Earlier in February this year, posters appeared in all major cities requesting the army chief to take over.

The army chief had, in January, laid to rest the speculations that he would continue to serve as the military chief beyond November 2016 when he is due to retire, insisting he preferred to relinquish the job unlike his two predecessors.

Later in August, Move On Pakistan made a request to the army chief to amend his decision of retirement and to impose martial law.

Banners with pictures of army chief General Raheel Sharif are on display again on Shahrah-e-Faisal, the city’s most busiest artery, urging the federal government to extend his service for the sake of country.

Interestingly, this time the banners have been put up in the jurisdiction of the Cantonment Board Faisal (CBF).

One of the banners bearing a huge picture of General Raheel and photos of recently martyred two army men in an exchange of fire with Indian forces on it reads, “Aur nahi Kuch…. Bas Pakistan.

Another banner reads as: Agay barho Pakistan [Move On Pakistan].

After tens of thousands of banners were displayed in 13 cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi, Sargodha and Faisalabad, in July, Islamabad Police registered a case against Move on Pakistan party under sections 120-B [criminal conspiracy], 124-A [sedition] and 505 [statements conducing to public mischief] of the Pakistan Penal Code. Later, Move On Pakistan chairman Muhammad Kamran was arrested from Islamabad.

Talking to Pakistan Today, the party’s legal adviser Dr Fayyaz said the party launched a fresh campaign to demand the federal government to grant extension to the army chief, who will retire in November this year.

Dr Fayyaz said that General Raheel should be given extension in service for timely completion of the China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC), elimination of terrorism from the country and to avert possible Indian misadventures along the Line of Control (LoC).

Responding to a question, Fayyaz claimed that the party’s earlier campaigns were misinterpreted by some politicians. “We are not begging for a military coup, but we are demanding the federal government to extend service of the army chief in greater interest of the country.