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    Showing posts with label Pakistan Army. Show all posts

    Raheel Sharif named as new Pakistan army Commander

    Pakistan has appointed Lt Gen Raheel Sharif as its new army head after weeks of speculation, a move correspondents say could define PM Nawaz Sharif's third term in office.

    Lt Gen Sharif replaces Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, who retires on Thursday.

    The government has also named Lt Gen Rashid Mahmood as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

    The appointments are seen as vital in fighting the Taliban and in determining the army's role in politics.

    Correspondents say Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will have carefully considered his crucial appointment of Lt Gen Sharif - who is not related to him - because the prime minister has twice had run-ins with the military during previous terms in office.

    In 1999 Mr Sharif was forced from office in a military take-over led by Gen Pervez Musharraf.

    In 1993 army chief Abdul Waheed Kakar led a push to get Mr Sharif to resign and hold elections following a long-running political stand-off between the prime minister and President Ghulam Ishaq.
    Overt interference

    Little is so far known about Gen Sharif, correspondents say, apart from the fact that his brother was one of the army's most decorated soldiers and was killed in the 1971 war with India.

    The new army chief, a career infantry soldier, is expected to continue Gen Kayani's policies and to avoid overt interference in politics.

    Lt Gen Sharif is thought to have been third on the army's seniority list.

    He is not known as an ambitious general, the BBC's Shahzeb Jillani in Islamabad says.

    Before his promotion, he headed the army's training and evaluation department and has previously served in senior roles as a corps commander and head of the country's premier training institution, the Military Academy in Abbottabad.

    The change of command comes as Pakistan faces a daunting array of challenges - including a home-grown Taliban insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives, strained relations with India over the Kashmir dispute and the winding-down in 2014 of the 12-year Nato mission in neighbouring Afghanistan.

    Pakistan has experienced three military coups since independence in 1947 and has been run by the army for half of its 66-year history.

    Gen Kayani's stance of not overtly interfering in politics allowed the country to experience its first successful transition between democratically elected governments earlier this year.

    Pakistan Army Officer's Suspected Militant Links Raise Fresh Fears

    The revelation that a senior Pakistani army officer was detained on suspicion of ties to a radical Islamist group has raised fresh concerns about the reach and influence of an organization that has long vexed analysts and politicians.
    Hizb-ut-Tahrir says it rejects violence but uses venomous rhetoric and pushes for military coups. It seeks the overthrow of Pakistan's elected government and wants to unite the Muslim world under one government following strict Islamic law.
    Pakistan's army confirmed on Tuesday that Brig. Ali Khan, whose rank equals that of a one-star general, is being investigated on alleged ties to Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Khan's wife has called the allegations "rubbish."
    Khan's lawyer, Col. Inam Rahim, claimed Wednesday that his client was arrested for demanding that someone within the military be held accountable for the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden last month not far from Pakistan's equivalent of West Point.
    The May 2 operation humiliated the Pakistani military, which didn't know about it beforehand, and raised questions about whether extremist sympathizers helped bin Laden hide in the army town of Abbottabad for years before he was killed – although there's no evidence yet of a military role in concealing the al-Qaida chief.
    Critics of Hizb-ut-Tahrir say it's not too far off from overtly militant Islamist groups, and that its anti-West preaching paves the way for a radical mindset that eventually leads some members to pick up weapons or tolerate those who do.
    "Hizb-ut-Tahrir has been an inspiration for jihadism," said Maajid Nawaz, a former member who now leads a think tank aimed at countering extremism.
    The group was founded in the early 1950s in Jerusalem by Taqiuddin an-Nabhani, who the group's various websites describe as a judge, scholar and politician. In the decades since, the group spread quickly throughout Muslim nations, as well as Western countries such as Britain and the U.S., and boasts hundreds of thousands of members worldwide.
    It says it wants to change Muslims' attitudes in order to lay the groundwork for restoring the Islamic caliphate, the structure that once governed much of the Muslim world. It also says it opposes democracy because the concept clashes with Islamic law, which is divine as opposed to man-made    READ MARE

    Pakistan Army Officer Detained For Militant Links

    Pakistan's army spokesman says a senior officer serving at army headquarters has been detained for suspected links with a banned militant group.
    Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said Tuesday that Brig. Ali Khan is being questioned by army authorities over the links. He said Khan was detained recently but did not provide an exact date or specify the banned militant group involved.
    The detention follows reports by U.S. officials that Pakistan detained five Pakistanis, including an army major, for helping the CIA carry out the American commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden last month. The Pakistani army denied an army major was arrested.

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