Islamabad: Apart from the immense public demand, there is increasing talk in the capital’s political circles that Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif may be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. The Army Chief is set to retire on November 30 this year after completing three years in office. In January this year, General Raheel Sharif out to rest growing speculations about an extension in his tenure through a brief, but sudden statement announced that the will not seek an extension in his tenure, ‘I don’t believe in extension and will retire on the due date.’
However, many see the role of General Raheel Sharif, who is regarded as the most powerful and popular man in Pakistan as vital in the country’s on going war against terror. The success of the on going Operation Zarb-e-Azb and the improved security situation in the city of Karachi, which had once become the crime capital of the country, is also attributed to the efforts of General Raheel Sharif. After sacrificing thousands of lives in the on going war against terror the Pakistani nation for the first time in years sees hope that this menace will be exterminated due to the efforts and strong will of the Army Chief. General Raheel Sharif emergence as a decisive stabilizing factor in Pakistan gives further credence to the public’s forceful demand of promoting him to the rank of Field Marshal.
President of Pakistan, Field Marshal General Muhammad Ayub Khan to date remains the only Field Marshal in the history of Pakistan Army. It is generally noted and agreed by all sources that Ayub Khan was a ‘self-appointed’ Field Marshal. If the intense public demand of promoting General Raheel Sharif to the rank of Field Marshal is met, General Raheel Sharif will become the country’s first Field Marshal appointed by the government (as opposed to Field Marshal Ayub Khan, who was a self appointed Field Marshal). Speaking of the South Asian region, in Sri Lanka, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka became the first Field Marshal of the country. Fonseka was promoted to the position on 22 March 2015 as recognition of his extraordinary contribution to Sri Lanka’s war victory over Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as the army commander.