Islamabad - Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid yesterday said there is no proposal being considered by the prime minister to ask Army Chief Raheel Sharif to reconsider his retirement plans.

“I am not aware of any such proposal”, the minister told The Nation saying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will take decision about appointment of new army chief at an appropriate time.

He advised the media not to debate appointments of the services chiefs.

This reporter approached the minister to solicit government’s version following rumours that the PM on Aug 14 is expected to ask General Raheel Sharif to withdraw decision about his retirement.

On January 25, General Raheel Sharif laid to rest speculation that he would not continue to serve as the military chief beyond November 2016 when he is due to retire, insisting he preferred to relinquish the job – unlike two of his predecessors.

“I do not believe in extension and will retire on the due date,” Chief of Army Staff General Raheel said in an unprecedented statement released by ISPR.

He was appointed as the country’s 15th army chief on November 29, 2013. He is scheduled to relinquish his office on November 29 this year.

In February, days after General Raheel announced he would step down later this year, banners were put up on the streets of the capital urging him to extend his tenure.

General Raheel Sharif earned immense popularity and international acclaim for successfully leading a major military operation Zarb-e-Azb which restored government writ in fate and peace across the country.

The overnight appearance of ‘coup posters’ earlier this month calling upon General Raheel Sharif to impose martial law regenerated the media and public debate about extension in his service tenure.

Even though the chief spokespersons of the government and the military responded timely to the posters, ostensibly to forestall possibility of creating any misgiving, discussions about future of General Sharif continues.

The information minister while reacting to the overnight installation of ‘coup banners’ had told journalists that in his personal opinion it is too early to discuss the ‘extension’ in army chief’s tenure.

He said the country is engaged in war against terrorism and extremism and army chief is leading operation Zarb-i-Azb against the terrorists.

Pervaiz Rashid regarded those who installed banners as fools ‘who do not want good for the country’.

Prime Minister’s key coalition partner JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman in media interaction shortly after his meeting with the prime minister in Lahore earlier this month praised the army chief for restoring peace across the country.

Commenting on the coup posters he termed it part of efforts by some people to create wedge between the government and the army.

Responding to the posters issue military’s chief spokesperson and DG ISPR, Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa on July 12 made it clear that neither Pakistan Army nor any of its affiliated organisations had any connection to the banners appeared across the country.

The ISPR categorically denied any involvement in the activity and the official tweet distanced the armed forces from the posters which had stirred controversy.

Of late, the federal government moved and lodged a formal FIR and arrested one person allegedly responsible for hanging these posters.

On the other hand, knowledgeable sources say that General Raheel Sharif, known as a man of words and honour, is unlikely to withdraw his decision even if prime minister requests him to continue.