Posters beseeching the army chief to stay on have been put up at several points on the road from Aabpara to Diplomatic Enclave. — Photo by Ishaque Chaudhry
Posters beseeching the army chief to stay on have been put up at several points on the road from Aabpara to Diplomatic Enclave. — Photo by Ishaque Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Banners requesting Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif not to retire on the expiry of his tenure in November this year have cropped up in the capital, though the army chief has announced that he was not interested in getting an extension.

The chief organiser of the campaign, Ali Hashmi, claimed that as many as 5,000 banners had been displayed in different cities of Punjab and Islamabad.

“The campaign has been started by a political party, ‘Move on Pakistan’, which was established three years ago with Mohammad Kamran, a businessman from Faisalabad, as its chairman. We have been working for education, health and peace,” Mr Hashmi told Dawn.

“Mr Sharif’s services for bringing peace in Karachi, Fata and Balochistan demand that he should stay as the army chief. Moreover, he speaks against corruption which is a biggest issue of the country. We believe that extension should be given to him because only he can address Pakistan’s issues,” he said.

“We had thought that political parties will urge the army chief to stay but they didn’t. So we came forward and now are going to intensify the campaign,” he said.

“Soon a press conference will also be held in which we will formally request the army chief not to retire. Moreover, we are also running a campaign on social media to convince the army chief to change his decision,” Mr Hashmi said.

However, defence analyst Amir Rana says,“This kind of campaigns cannot change such an important decision.” He said the Pakistan army had made it clear that the present policies would continue even after the retirement of General Raheel Sharif.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2016

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