Can Gen Raheel Rise To The Challenge?


Lt Gen Raheel SharifNawaz Sharif has promoted Lt Gen Raheel Sharif to Chief of Army Staff, but there are reasons to worry that a change of names is not likely to bring a change of direction for the military. To put Pakistan on the right track, Gen Raheel is going to have to overcome some big challenges.

Gen Raheel is being lauded as a ‘moderate’ who believes TTP is ‘as big a threat as India‘. This is meant to sound reassuring, that the new Army chief’s priorities are in tune with the actual threats the country faces. But it also means that Gen Raheel sees India, which has not attacked Pakistan, as an equal threat to the TTP which has killed thousands and thousands of innocent Pakistanis and launched multiple attacks against Pak military bases. Before being promoted to COAS, Gen Raheel was focused on developing new responses to India’s ‘cold start’ doctrine. While TTP is threatening more attacks, we are getting another Army chief whose focus has always been India.

Gen Raheel takes over command of the military at a time when Pakistan is not only facing constant attacks by TTP militants, but is likely to lose a significant amount of military support as the Americans are preparing to leave Afghanistan. Gen Raheel has a choice: He can continue the India-centric policies supported by his predecessors, or he can reorient national security policy against the enemies that present actual, not ‘ideological’ threats to the nation. Only the future will tell if he can rise to the challenge.


Author: Mahmood Adeel


  1. Gen Sharif is not going to make a whit of a difference to Pak Army’s India Centric strategies. What Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should do is to strike it when hot and ensure that Pak Armed Forces become a part of the civilian administration and not remain outside its ambit. This is the minimum that the nation demands. All these military India centric strategies has not brought any difference in the ground situation and therefore foreign policy with regard to India needs to be a substantial part of the NS administration and not under Pak Army. Unless this is done, no improvement can be expected in any sphere of activity pertaining to relationship with India.

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