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Mysterious banners urging Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to contest the general elections in 2018 were spotted in Rawalpindi on Saturday, a few weeks ahead of the military chief's last day on duty.

In bold letters, the banners call for 'no extension but reduction' — asking for reduction from two to one year the minimum duration before a retired government servant can enter politics as well as urging General Raheel to enter the political arena and contest national elections in 2018.

The banners call on the government and the opposition to bring to an end "their divisive politics". They also call on the general to enter politics in the hopes that "ties between the country's civil and military leadership can harmonise".

The banners say there was hope that by taking part in the elections, [General] Raheel's party "will secure majority votes and he will be elected prime minister, leading the country on the path to becoming a success".

The posters name a Sheikh Rasheed Amjad Ali, member of a group called the Awami Monitoring Cell (Rawalpindi), as the man who has organised the campaign.

Also read: Who will be the next army chief?

Previously, banners addressing General Raheel had popped up in cities across the country urging the COAS to 'stay on.'

In July, posters were seen in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and several other major cities, urging the general to impose martial law and form a government of technocrats.

Those banners were put up by the little-known political party of Punjab Move on Pakistan and unlike the party's earlier campaign requesting the army chief to reconsider his retirement plan due in November the message in July was quite ominous.

More on this: Soldier’s soldier will do right by us

A banner hanging at a traffic intersection on the thoroughfare between Chief Minister House and the Rangers headquarters in Karachi read: Janay ki baatain hui puraani, Khuda k liye ab ajao (Talks of leaving are now old; for God’s sake now come).

In response to the July posters, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had tweeted saying that the Pakistan Army or any of its affiliated organisations had no connection to the banners.

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Comments (67) Closed



Abrar Nov 05, 2016 05:00pm

It would be a welcome move if law is followed.

Syed ali Nov 05, 2016 05:00pm

I will join his party, with whatever I have. This is the responsibility of each and every PakistanI; now is the time to lead from front

naqeeb Nov 05, 2016 05:03pm

Guys let him live as a honorable person. I would like his extension as a COAS if not then no need to come in politics

shuja Nov 05, 2016 05:04pm

seems the govt itself is involved in this campaign

Farrukh Nov 05, 2016 05:10pm

another drama!

Iftikhar Husain Nov 05, 2016 05:13pm

Extension will be the right move by the government to save the country from further confusion.

Muhammad Usman Khan Nov 05, 2016 05:14pm

@shuja Yes I also believe.

khanm Nov 05, 2016 05:17pm

With due respect..he can make or join any political party that is is right ...he is popular amongst a lot of people for the achievement ..

Khwarezmi Nov 05, 2016 05:21pm

We are living in desperate times where our family-owned political parties have failed us. Ther is so much work to be done and our government is no where to be seen. India is constructing dams on our rivers (which will effect pur coming generations) and we are sitting engolfed in corruption.

Adnan MAZHER KHAN Nov 05, 2016 05:22pm

Let him afford with the luxury of honourable exit.

The end is near Nov 05, 2016 05:47pm

General Raheel is always welcome. We need honest, brave, clean and true hard working leader. IK and Raheel can be a good pair to move this country forward together in the right direction. Raheel should help IK in the war against corruption and injustice and join hands with IK to bury corruption and injustice forever.

Javeed Nov 05, 2016 06:07pm

Why are people so dumb to believe that a good military-man can also be a good statesman?

Shalone Nov 05, 2016 06:10pm

If he is sensible, should not listen to such advice. In Pakistan, people always find excuse to make fun of politicians. Let him have his retired life in peace.

tq Nov 05, 2016 06:13pm

Can any honourable man do politics in Pakisran?

aa Nov 05, 2016 06:20pm

@Javeed That's what taught to the nation only.

ALI Nov 05, 2016 06:20pm

Let him leave in dignity, and democracy prevail.

PHILOSOPHER (FROM JAPAN) Nov 05, 2016 06:24pm

Cheap publicity stunt.

Umreekan_Sundi Nov 05, 2016 06:25pm

@Syed ali This is the 'responsibility' of each Pakistani to join his 'party'? Get a life dude

DJ Nov 05, 2016 06:36pm

@PHILOSOPHER (FROM JAPAN) By whom,can you explain?

Yawar Nov 05, 2016 06:42pm

He cannot beat our present political system. He could have made it if there was Presidential type of system.

Harmony-1© Nov 05, 2016 06:44pm

@Javeed - We don't need just a mere "statesman" good just for electioneering and promises. We need a doer, an honest leader!

Ahsan Nov 05, 2016 06:45pm

General Raheel Sharif has definitely played most critical role in eradication of Terrorism and Extremism from our beloved motherland with iron hand as ZARBUL AZB

But Politics is a different game and any suggestion for contesting in next election may not be advisable. His name will remain in the golden page of Pakistan

M.Saeed Nov 05, 2016 06:46pm

If you have to spoil your good deeds and name, just join politics.

MKB Nov 05, 2016 06:46pm

@Syed ali you have freedom to join whoever you want and let the other Pakistanis make their decision.

Alba Nov 05, 2016 06:59pm

@The end is near ..... Men of integrity are rare.

Changez Khan Nov 05, 2016 07:07pm

If General Raheel contest the election in 2018 that will be a God given gift to this torn up country. General Raheel will put the country back on track to progress where General Ayub left the progress.

Pakistan needs badly a leader like General Raheel. Let's hope he conrests the election.

Khan USA Nov 05, 2016 07:12pm

Namaloom Afraad !

aamir Nov 05, 2016 07:12pm

Mysterious, what a word to cover controversial ambitions of the people who posted the banners.

Khan USA Nov 05, 2016 07:13pm

Work of third umpire !

Nisar Nov 05, 2016 07:23pm

Being a good soldier does not mean you are a good politician also. Similarly being a good player and social worker does not make you a good politician .

Philosopher (from Japan) Nov 05, 2016 07:26pm

@DJ by the person whose name n cell number appear on Banner.

M. Emad Nov 05, 2016 07:30pm

OMG !

M. Alvi Nov 05, 2016 07:32pm

A few thoughts: 1) Pakistan needs presidential system. 2) There should be no delay of two years to join politics. 3) Raheel should join Musharraf's party - a natural alliance.

ivehadit Nov 05, 2016 07:38pm

Once he is a civilian and retired from the Army, there should be no restrictions on him. However, he will have to form a party and it's a slippery slope from there. Pakistan has a Parliamentary system, not a Presidential system. Mush tried this and where did it get him.

There's no silver bullet here. Pakistanis have to strengthen their institutions the old fashioned way - by respecting and building on them.

quest Nov 05, 2016 07:39pm

@M. Alvi l agree with point 1 & 2 but not the 3rd..

Alba Nov 05, 2016 07:41pm

@tq .... Good question. Firm and honest control over government departments and top bureaucrats by the prime minister is vital, and similar controls over the provincial governors administrations is also needed. In the USA, the Attorney General, FBI and Justice Department exercise arrest powers over all fifty governors. The former State of Illinois governor is serving a 14 year prison sentence for corruption, and two of the last three Illinois governors went to prison for corruption after trials and appeals. They could not be saved by backdoor politics.

ivehadit Nov 05, 2016 07:41pm

@Changez Khan you have a very short memory. if Ayub Khan is your hero, and you think General Raheel is in his image, then you're on the wrong track. Ayub Khan's dictatorial regime was responsible for massive corruption, a terrible war and extreme accumulation of wealth in just a few hands, to name a few things. Some may say he was responsible for the separation of East Pakistan.

Mustafa R. Nov 05, 2016 07:49pm

@Javeed;

'Why are people so dumb to believe that a good military-man can also be a good statesman?'

Because both have a common foundation, moral rectitude.

Pakistani Forever Nov 05, 2016 07:50pm

This and a previous banner asking the army chief to stay have a very visible phone number. So kindly solve the mystery.

Mustafa R. Nov 05, 2016 07:55pm

I wonder if there is any required time period he has to wait before joining politics.

quest Nov 05, 2016 07:57pm

Someone is trying to drag Army in politics. Bad move!

pak47 Nov 05, 2016 07:57pm

Even if he goes to election he doesn't have a party to win seats.

Sam Nov 05, 2016 07:59pm

If law makers can participte in back to back elections then why cant a govt official not do it immediatly after retireing?

Striker Nov 05, 2016 08:00pm

He is a dignified soldier, he should continue to serve as one. I'd welcome him in helping Pakistan get rid of curropt politicians rather than becoming politician himself.

zak Nov 05, 2016 08:06pm

Someone playing games against the Army.

Changez Khan Nov 05, 2016 08:07pm

@ivehadit

You are WRONG on all:

1) First of all Pakistan always made progress under dictators. 2) Under General Ayub corruption was completely eliminated. Prices of food items dropped like rock. People could not litter streets. He employed all. People were happy. There was no electricity outage. The factories were fully functioning etc. etc. 3) He kept East and West Pakistan together.

My point is Pakistan needs the Controlled Democracy

Shaukat Ali Khan Nov 05, 2016 08:15pm

No individual can improve the system in Pakistan till we quit parliamentary system and adopt presidential system.

asim Nov 05, 2016 08:30pm

let him go with dignity. Any military man can join politics once retired and there are so many example before.

Dr. M. Jaffar Nov 05, 2016 08:34pm

Idea is good, but let's hope better show from this Sharif!

JustWasif Nov 05, 2016 08:35pm

Should not be big news..

JustWasif Nov 05, 2016 08:35pm

Politics in Pakistan is not for gentlemen..

Rashid Nov 05, 2016 08:47pm

Whoever posted this banner is not in favor of Pakistan. Army and it's general should refrain participating in politics. That is the problem of our country we make people heroes for no reason and suddenly make them villain for no reason. It's time for Mr Raheel to go gracefully.

Shahid Nov 05, 2016 08:52pm

People must realize, as long as this corrupt system is in place, family chain of political structure is not broken, dual national politicians are not blocked from political or public positions including party leaderships, and institutional and bureaucratic behind the scene collusion with corrupt politicians are not curbed, DO NOT even think of most angelic person dragging into this jungle of lawlessness. Institutional and administrative infrastructure must be party- and personality-blind. Otherwise downward drift will continue in this bottomless abyss.

The end is near Nov 05, 2016 09:00pm

@Javeed why not?? Musharraf is a bright example. Great General and a great president.

SAEED MASOOD Nov 05, 2016 09:11pm

If Gen. Raheel Sharif fights the elections and follows the constitution it is his right, and if the people of Pakistan elec him to become the Prime Minister it is perfectly alright. He should make his own decisions.

Jamil Nov 06, 2016 12:37am

@Nisar Can you explain then, what are the essential attributes of a good politician?

PR MAN Nov 06, 2016 01:21am

The question is why bend the rules? Raheel is indeed a good soldier, a good citizen, and a trustworthy leader. Let him come through the existing rules to prove his political prowess. Bending rules, creating special environments, and giving head start to over-privileged individuals is the root cause of social and corruption environment. I will vote for him only if he competes fairly.

John Nov 06, 2016 01:52am

@Javeed ... Because Raheel sharif is different from others...

Mbwa Nov 06, 2016 03:12am

Go for it General. You are much needed and world will listen to you. Do it for the country you love so much.

Imtiaz ali khan Nov 06, 2016 03:13am

Wish you well General Raheel Sharif. Thank you for your service to Pakistan. Salute!

a&a Nov 06, 2016 05:58am

Only time will tell, first let him retire with honors.

Imran Soomro Nov 06, 2016 01:53pm

Let the great general of the history of Pakistan live with honour and peacefully. I am sure what Gen. Ayub, Zia and Musharraf did to Pakistan, if General Raheel was then CAOS, he would not have adopt their pathway which enormously sabotaged Pakistan's dignity and national sovereignty.

Syedchaudhrygangadinkhan Nov 06, 2016 03:15pm

Nothing is mysterious about these banners. They look like the previous banners produced by the same outfit, if you know what I mean.

Khalid masood Nov 06, 2016 06:29pm

Please let general raheel shareef to live a respectful life after retirement.

Fawzia H Nov 06, 2016 07:05pm

Good idea

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Nov 06, 2016 08:01pm

Lack of action from the COAS in Panjab and Interior Sindh has put a dent on General Raheel Shareef's popularity. Corruption kings in Panjab and Interior Sindh are now considering themselves above the law.

Arif Khan Nov 07, 2016 01:28am

Let us not murder the democracy of our country, also encourage honest military officers to contest the election. We need honest people in politics but don't force anyone, that shows the country is alive because of one person which is not true. We have serious problems with illiteracy in our country but no point in showing the same in every forum.