Profile: Lt General Raheel Sharif

Published November 27, 2013
Lieutenant General Raheel Sharif. — File Photo
Lieutenant General Raheel Sharif. — File Photo

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.

Over the years, Sharif climbed up the military ladder mentored by Musharraf who handed him command of the 11th Infantry Division in Lahore.

Despite the common surname, Raheel Sharif is not related to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but is known to be close to tribal affairs minister Lieutenant-General Abdul Qadir Baloch, a key confidante of the Sharif family.

As a brigadier, he has commanded two infantry brigades including an independent infantry brigade group.

He has been the General Officer 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 and honour that is given to both civilians and military officers of the Pakistan armed forces.

On Nov 27, the government approved Sharif’s appointment for the slot of Chief of Army Staff, a position that he will be taking over from Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who will be stepping down on Nov 29 after serving as military chief for six years.

The general is married with two sons and a daughter.

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