The suspense over the successor to Pakistan Army's powerful chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has concluded after confirmation of Lieutenant General Raheel Sharif's appointment as the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He will take command of Pakistan Army on Friday.

On the other hand, Lieutenant General Rashid Mahmood has been appointed as the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJSC).

Lt. Gen Raheel was serving as Inspector General Training and Evaluation while Lt. Gen Mahmood was serving as Chief of General Staff before their elevation to the top posts.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held separate meeting with both senior generals where he conveyed them the decision. They also discussed national security as well professional matters relating to the military.

Meanwhile, the prime minister is scheduled to host a farewell dinner for General Kayani today, where he will have an opportunity to interact with the military high command.

Political leaders, corps commanders and senior military officials will be present in the event.

This was the fourth time that PM Nawaz selected an Army Chief. He picked up Abdul Waheed Kakar as the Army chief in 1993 but the General soon ditched him and played a key role in Sharif s resignation. Kakar had superseded at least four senior generals.

In 1998, he hand-picked Pervez Musharraf to head the Army and he too had superseded at least two Generals. Musharraf first plotted the Kargil misadventure derailing Sharif s India-Pakistan peace dialogue in 1999 and then engineered a coup against the Prime Minister in the same year.

Sharif selected Ziauddin Butt in October 1999 but he could not take over as the Army chief due to the coup by Musharraf.

Kayani, who also served as the Director-General of the spy agency ISI and director of the Directorate-General of Military Operations, will hang his boots on Friday after being at the helm of the Army for six years.

Lieutenant General Raheel Sharif, Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military) hails from martial stock. He was born in Quetta on 16 June 1956 to Major and Mrs Muhammad Sharif. He is younger brother of Major Shabir Sharif, NH, SJ and Capt Mumtaz Sharif, Sbt.

He is an alumnus of Govt College Lahore, and Pakistan Military Academy from where he passed out with 54th PMA Long Course. He was commissioner in Oct 1976 in the battle hardened and renowned 6th Battalion The Frontier Force Regiment in which his elder brother had embraced martyrdom.

As a young officer, he performed his duties in Gilgit in an infantry Brigade and also served as adjutant of Pakistan Military Academy.

He did Company Commander’s Course from germany and subsequently served in the prestigious School of Infantry and Tactics as an instructor. He attended the Command and Staff College Canada, graduating with distinction.

The officer carries with him a vast experience of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. He served as the Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade and has commanded two infantry units i.e 6 Frontier Force Regiment at Kashmir along LOC and 26 Frontier Force Regiment along the Sialkot Border. He remained on the faculty of the Command and Staff College, Quetta and attended Armed Forces War Course at National Defence University, Islamabad in 1988.

As a Brigadier, he has commanded two Infantry Brigades, including an Independent Infantry Brigade Group. The General has had the honor of being the Chief of Staff of two Corp, i.e 30 Corpse and 12 Corps. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Royal College of Defence Studies, United Kingdom.

He has been the General Officer Commanding of an Infantry Division and the Commandant of prestigious Pakistan Military Academy. As a Lieutenant General he served as Corps Commander 30 Corpse for two years before taking over as Inpector General Training and Evaluation in which capacity the he oversaw the training of Pakistan Army.

His stewardship resulted in frutification of Pakistan Army’s operation though and doctrinal response to the much vaunted Col Start doctrine of Indian Army.

The general is married and has two sons and a daughter. He is an avid reader and enjoys hunting and swimming.