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General Raheel Sharif

General Raheel Sharif  born 16 June 1956) is the 15th and current Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army

Early life, family and education

Sharif was born on the 16th of June, 1956 in Quetta to a family of prominent military background.[2] His roots are in the town of Kunjah in the Gujrat District of Punjab province.[3] His father, Muhammad Sharif, was a retired major.[2] He is the younger brother of Major Shabbir Sharif who fought in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and received the Nishan-e-Haider.[4] He is also the nephew of Major Aziz Bhatti, another Nishan-i-Haider recipient, who fought in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.[5] Despite sharing a common surname, and being of the same origin (Kashmiri) he is not directly related to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.[6][2] He is married and has three children, which include two sons and a daughter.[2]

Military service

Sharif received his formal education from the Government College in Lahore and then attended the Pakistan Military Academy for military education. After graduation, he was commissioned into the 6th battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment in 1976.[2] During his early years, he performed duties in an infantry brigade in Gilgit and also served as an adjutant to the Pakistan Military Academy. Over the years, he rose up in the military ranks and was given command of the 11th Infantry Division in Lahore by General Pervez Musharraf.[2]
As a brigadier, he commanded two infantry brigades. Sharif has also been the General Officer Commander of an infantry division and the Commandant of the Pakistan Military Academy.[2] Following his promotion as a Lieutenant General, Sharif served for two years as a Corps Commander until taking over as an Inspector General for Training and Evaluation under which he was involved in overseeing training in the Pakistan Army.[2]

Role in War on Terror

In both the positions held, his role was primarily to deal with the evaluation of military doctrines and war strategies - with a view to shaping future training programmes. He played a key role in presiding over a change of military thinking since 2007, under which the focus of the army's work is geared more towards fighting Taliban militants rather than confronting traditional arch-enemy India. Sharif has played a big role in convincing the army that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and assorted militants inside Pakistan are just as big a threat as India. However, General Sharif stressed that there will be no priority when it comes to dealing with threats, be it internal or external.[7]

Chief of Army Staff

On 27 November 2013, Sharif was appointed as the 15th Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.[4] According to sources, General Sharif is reputedly a professional soldier and is uninterested in politics. But observers have grumbled that General Sharif was elevated over two more senior generals, despite a commitment that seniority in the army’s ranks would be respected. However, analysts have pointed out that, because of the precarious situation in North-West Pakistan, General Sharif was the best man to take over from the helms of General Kayani.[.[1
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