After India carried out surgical strikes against terrorists in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir across the Line of Control, Pakistan Army chief Raheel Sharif, who is set to retire next month, is firing from all quarters on the issue: On Friday, he warned that any "misadventure" by any "adversary" will meet the "most befitting response". He also asked all commanders to lay more emphasis on combat readiness and said the training in peacetime is the only guarantor of averting and winning a war if imposed.
The prevalence of cross-border tension and an uneasy situation might however see Raheel Sharif's term being extended, speculates The Times of India, which reports that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was advised by his party leaders to offer a year's extension to the other Sharif.
Pakistan's The News also reports a similar situation. That Nawaz is under pressure by some "influential leaders" of the PML-N to offer an extension to General Raheel. It also quotes a "credible source close to the prime minister" as saying that Nawaz was not keen on giving an extension nor was he considering elevating Raheel to the post of Field Marshal.
However, Raheel's extension will all depend on "escalating hostilities" between the two countries, reports The Free Press Journal, as both India and Pakistan are on high-alert. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has even urged India and Pakistan to engage in a dialogue and to deescalate the situation, writes Shreerupa Mitra-Jha for Firstpost.
The Wall Street Journal explains how the Army has dominated a coup-ridden Pakistan for 69 years and that if Raheel Sharif steps down as army chief, it would perhaps be the first time in the country's history that anyone "has left the military’s most powerful job as scheduled in two decades". It also adds that Nawaz is "determined" not to extend Raheel's tenure — this step means that the country will see a handing over of power to the civilians rather than the military. Raheel became popular in Pakistan after leading an anti-terror campaign in the country which saw a reduced number of attacks and casualties.