Kayani decides to call it a day

Posted: October 24, 2013 in Current Affairs, World Affairs
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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had one less worry by Sunday evening.

Unexpectedly, a press release from the Inter Services Public Relations, the media wing of the armed forces in general and the army in particular, landed in various media houses and inboxes without any fanfare.

The short statement was of great significance as it contained a message from Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that he would retire in November when his second three-year tenure ended.

This short and simple press release made it clear that now Prime Minister Sharif would have to choose from new contenders, instead of weighing the pros and cons of experience versus fresh blood.

He had taken over as the COAS in 2007 — when then COAS and president Pervez Musharraf was compelled to give up his army post in the face of great political opposition and turmoil. And though Kayani’s tenure ended in 2010, then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani gave him a three-year extension, a decision that had even then attracted controversy and criticism.

The ISPR statement made no bones about the fact that it was prompted by the speculation that had engulfed the country for days.

“For quite some time, my current responsibilities and likely future plans have been debated in the media with all sorts of rumours and speculations doing the rounds.

The subject of being entrusted with new duties has also come up in several reports. I am grateful to the political leadership and the nation for reposing their trust in me and Pakistan Army at this important juncture of our national history.

However, I share the general opinion that institutions and traditions are stronger than individuals and must take precedence.”

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