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May 29, 2020
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Profile of Pakistan’s new COAS: Who is Lt General Raheel Sharif?

GenRaheelSharifPakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday appointed Lt General Raheel Sharif as new Army Chief of the country.

Lt General Raheel Sharif to replace General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, who will be retired on November 29 (tomorrow).

Lt General Raheel Sharif:

Family background:

Sharif was born on the 16th of June, 1956 in Quetta to a family of prominent military background. His roots are in the town of Kunjah in the Gujrat District of Punjab province.

His father, Muhammad Sharif, was a retired major.

He is the younger brother of Major Shabbir Sharif who fought in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and received the Nishan-e-Haider.

He is also the nephew of Major Aziz Bhatti, another Nishan-i-Haider recipient, who fought in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

Despite sharing a common surname, he is not related to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He is married and has three children, which include two sons and a daughter.

Current Posting:

Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to Gen Kayani Inspector General Training and Evaluation (IGT&E)

Service History

Commander, Gujranwala XXX Corps (as three-star/Lt General)

Commandant of PakistanMilitaryAcademy, Kakul (as two-star/Maj General)

General Officer Commanding, Lahore (as two-star/Maj General)


Third in line in terms of seniority, Sharif also has the rare and coveted legacy angle covered as the brother of Nishan-e-Haider medal recipient for valour, Shabbir Sharif Shaheed.

Sharif has been a key element in Kayani’s unsung feats – developing new doctrines for COIN/CT, where the Infantry training manual has essentially been re-written under his watch to move the largest fighting arm and backbone of the Army from the traditional India-centric role to a more diversified counterinsurgency capacity as well.

For the eastern front, he has also worked on beefing up other fighting and supporting arms for countering India’s Cold Start doctrine with more integrated, even sophisticated responses than the 2000s saw.

As heritage and lineage matter in the Army more than other institutions, Sharif enjoys support from the traditionalist rank and file for his legacy.

Derided unfairly in the press as a “mediocre careerist”, Sharif enjoys close connections with former army chiefs and top brass as well as Lahore’s political elite, and is a tall, confident man with a booming voice and a soldier’s nuance.