LAHORE - The voices in favour of extension in the service of Army Chief General Raheel Sharif are not giving good taste to certain quarters in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. The desire expressed by various civil society organisations, groups and the individuals to press General Raheel for recalling his retirement decision is not going unnoticed at various tiers of the ruling party, said PML-N source.

However, at no level in the party thought is being given to evolving a strategy to counter this public wish through a proper way yet such voices go out of proportion to the point of becoming a reality feels contrary to the party desire, they add. Throughout the media talk shows held on the subject of Army Chief’s extension previously, the PML-N maintained silence to let things go naturally while the ministers in their media interaction brushed aside this question as premature.

However, after General Raheel Sharif had himself announced not to seek extension in the service cleared the wind on the subject side by side offering a precise answer to the PML-N, government and the political parties. The decision of the Army Chief was also hailed by the PTI and the PPP as his professional approach and deviation from the past when Army heads either got extension by themselves or looked at the government for it. Yet the banners, posters, media columns and social media campaign by certain groups and individuals is continuing to show the matter is yet not over. It is apart from the petitions which certain citizens had moved to seek a judicial verdict on army chief extension in service.

At the experts’ level it is being believed that the ball is now in the court of the government as how much it would respect the public wish if it became forceful while the army chief had laid bare his mind. So, in their view, focus may be on the government if the campaign gets strong in the time to come before retirement of the army chief on November 29 next. This however, does not appear so far as no big organizations and names are supporting this point of view.

A number of surveys conducted inside and outside the country have shown General Raheel the most popular person in the country. He has won and heart and mind of the people for launching a successful counter terror drive in a milieu wherein terrorism, militancy and extremism had made life of the countrymen a hell. At present the government and the army enjoy very good relationship in defending the country against terrorism in any form and anywhere. The Army action under the command Army Chief against the militants through the Zarb-e-Azb commands big respect and approval at the public level while Karachi operation has given the masses a big sigh of relief. A peace in Karachi has also revitalized economy of the country.

Ending moratorium on the execution of terror convicts a message has been conveyed to the evil doers while military courts are passing prompt decisions on terror and the cases of heinous crimes. A National Action Plan is in place not only to take terrorists to task but to also address causes of this menace wherein corruption has also been found as facilitating this scourge. The observers say, this all has boosted confidence of the layman about the role of army under General Rasheel Sharif and they fear reversal of the situation in his absence. That is why they want his extension.

The unity of thought between the two sides is being appreciated however on some matters difference of opinion has reportedly, been witnessed. The question of extending presence of Rangers in Karachi with due powers is one of that examples, they add.