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Gen Raheel Sharif

HIGH NOON AT MIDNIGHT

The Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri show, or as my friend Ejaz Haider puts it, the “Lucky Irani Circus”, finally made it to where they wanted to be in the first place and where the Mian Nawaz Sharif regime did not want them at any time, at the “D Square” in front of Parliament. While it was a massive crowd, the numbers do not matter. The emotions of the men, women and children who braved both the artificial and natural odds to follow their leaders to their date with destiny did. Contrary to the govt-fed propaganda most of our more renowned TV anchors were parrotting ad nauseam, the PTI followers remained true and faithful. Not politically extensive nationwide as Imran Khan’s, Tahirul Qadri’s flock in Islamabad numbered far more. Their remarkable capacity to remain resolute and with resilience, all with remarkable discipline, belies political reckoning. Make no mistake, the Sharifs under-estimated Tahirul Qadri’s political nuisance value. Alongside Imran, he may well bring down their govt.

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Change in Guard

As his closest professional confidante, the choice of Chief of the General Staff (CGS) is usually a strong indicator of the Army Chief’s preference for a successor. Passing him over for CGS for (than) Lt Gen Rashad Mahmood. Kayani appointed Lt Gen Haroon Aslam as Chief of Logistics Services (CLS). Junior to Rashad, (than) Lt Gen Raheel Sharif was rumoured to be slotted by Kayani for the more senior (than COAS) post of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC). Not comfortable with Kayani’s recommendations and/or for reasons only in the realm of speculation, it suited the Sharifs to go with seniority instead. The PM appointed Rashad Mahmood the Chairman JCSC and Raheel Sharif the COAS.

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