Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif who has been saying seniority will triumph in the selection of the top army posts, gave it a miss as reflected by his choice of appointments. He promoted and appointed Lt General Raheel Sharif as the new Pakistan army chief who is third in seniority to two other officers. Lt General Sharif, was given the nod over the senior most Lt General Haroon Aslam and the next officer Lt General Rashad Mehmood, though Lt General Mehmood has been named the new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).

The Prime Minister had met the two officers in question this morning before the appointments were announced. The earlier CJCSC General Khalid Shameem Wynne retired in October and Mr. Sharif had said that he would make both top appointments together. The current chief of army staff General Ashfaque Parvez Kayani had a month ago dismissed rumours over his extension and offers of a new post after his retirement.

Lt General Sharif was principal staff officer to General Kayani, and Inspector General Training and Evaluation of Pakistan Army, while General Mehmood was Chief of General Staff. Both Lt General Mehmood and General Aslam have a few months to go before retirement, whereas General Sharif is due for it only after three years.

General Sharif hails from a traditional military family and is decorated with the Hilal-e-Imtiaz and is the younger brother of 1971 war hero Major Shabbir Sharif who was awarded the Nishan-i-Haider. He was born in Quetta on 16 June, 1956 and studied at Government College Lahore. He passed out from Pakistan Military Academy and was commissioned in October 1976 in the sixth Battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment, the same as his older brother.

As a young officer, he performed his duties in Gilgit in an Infantry Brigade and also served as Adjutant of Pakistan Military Academy.

He did the Company Commander’s Course from Germany and subsequently served in the prestigious School of Infantry and Tactics as an instructor. He attended the Command and Staff College, Canada, graduating with distinction. He served as the Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade and has commanded two infantry units.