RAWALPINDI, (The News): Outgoing Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani handed over the command of Pakistan Army to the new army chief General Raheel Sharif on Friday.
In this connection, a change of command ceremony was held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Friday morning.
General Kayani was presented with the farewell Guard of Honor and later he handed over the command stick to General Raheel Sharif.
Thereafter, the new Army chief, General Raheel Sharif was also given Guard of Honor.
Kayani, known as the ‘quiet general of Pakistani politics,’ has been given much credit for resisting the temptation to meddle in politics despite Pakistan’s frequent security, economic, power and political crises.
Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had appointed Kayani the army chief in 2007 and received an unprecedented three-year extension from premier Yusuf Raza Gilani in 2010. During his six years tenure, he came across formidable challenges.
Newly appointed Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Rashad Mahmood, Chiefs of Air Staff and Chief of Naval Staff among senior in-service and retired officers of trio armed forces attended the change of command ceremony.
Besides, Defence Minister, Khawaja Asif and a large number of politicians and journalists also witnessed the impressive change of command ceremony.
Profile: General Raheel Sharif
Born in Quetta on June 16, 1956 to Major and Mrs. Muhammad Sharif, newly-appointed army chief Raheel Sharif grew up steeped in the military tradition.
Sharif’s elder brother, Shabbir Sharif, was a course-mate of General (rtd) Pervez Musharraf, and was killed during the 1971 war with India and was awarded the Nishan-i-Haider, Pakistan’s highest military award.
He attained his formal education at Government College Lahore and later went on to attend the Pakistan Military Academy.
After graduation, he was commissioned in 1976 in the battle hardened and renowned 6th battalion The Frontier Force Regiment in which his elder brother was also commissioned.
As a young officer, he performed his duties in Gilgit in an infantry brigade and also served as adjutant of Pakistan Military Academy.
As a brigadier, he has commanded two infantry brigades including an independent infantry brigade group.
He has been the General Of?cer Commanding of an infantry division and the Commandant of the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy.
As a Lieutenant General, Sharif served as Corps Commander for two years before taking over as Inspector General Training and Evaluation in which capacity he oversaw the training of Pakistan Army.
He was also awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award an honour that is given to both civilians and military officers of the Pakistan armed forces.
On Nov 27, the government approved Raheel’s appointment for the slot of Chief of Army Staff, a position that he took over from Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who stepped down on Nov 29 after serving as military chief for six years.
The general is married with two sons and a daughter.