Field Marshal or JCSC chief; army chief reportedly offered key posts

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff has yet to respond to the federal government’s offer; whether to rise to the rank of the rare Field Marshal or to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Credible sources close told Online that the mentioned posts have been offered to the army chief on behalf of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is reportedly set to leave for the United States this month.

On the prime minister’s instruction, sources say, Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Senator Ishaq Dar and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif tabled the options in a meeting with General Sharif.

The two stalwarts of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N, however, told the army chief that, provided he decides to go with one of the two options, no compromise would be made on the balance of power – sources say.

According to sources, before going to US this month, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would decide about the future of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.

Sources say General Sharif has not responded yet to the government’s offer. They, however, told Online that the prime minister wants to finalise the case pertaining to the incumbent army chief before departing for US.

Provided he doesn’t take extension which he said he won’t, General Sharif will retire from service on November 29 after completing his three-year tenure as the 15th army chief of Pakistan Army.

The appointment of the army chief is in principle for three years subject to extensions granted by the president on recommendation from the prime minister.

It is very much likely that Prime Minister Nawaz might make an important announcement regarding the post of Chief of Army Staff till coming Thursday, sources say.

The incumbent army chief is also popular with the authorities in China, as the security of the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) rests with the armed forces of Pakistan. Beijing wants General Sharif to continue his office till the completion of the project.

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