Pakistan's military chief Kayani says he will retire in November

ISLAMABAD Sun Oct 6, 2013 11:08pm IST

Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani salutes during a parade while on a visit to the Sri Lanka Army headquarters in Colombo June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte.Files

Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani salutes during a parade while on a visit to the Sri Lanka Army headquarters in Colombo June 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte.Files

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The head of Pakistan's powerful military said on Sunday he would retire in November as planned, in an announcement many believe will help bolster the fragile democracy of the coup-prone nation.

Pakistanis have been speculating for months whether Ashfaq Kayani would try to extend his three-year term for a third time, a prospect the announcement ruled out.

"I share the general opinion that institutions and traditions are stronger than individuals and must take precedence," Kayani said in a statement.

"It is time for others to carry forward the mission of making Pakistan a truly democratic, prosperous and peaceful country."

Kayani said there were many "rumours and speculations" about his future plans. He did not directly comment on reports that after retirement he would take over as the powerful head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Politicians say the new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, wants to revamp the committee to become a central defence body that will command the entire military establishment.

Sharif, who was overthrown by a coup during a previous term, took power after a landslide win in May elections. The polls marked the first time one elected government had handed power to another in Pakistan's history.

Kayani's appointment as head of the newly empowered committee would mean he was still de facto head of the military.

That might help Sharif ensure some continuity at a time the country is beset by rising militant violence and tensions are heightened with neighbouring India over disputed Kashmir.

It might also help smooth relations with the United States ahead of a pullout of most foreign troops in neighbouring Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Much of the U.S. equipment that is being shipped backed will transit through Pakistan. (Reporting by Katharine Houreld; editing by Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS EXCLUSIVE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

iOS 8 Issue

iOS 8 Issue

iOS 8 causing Bluetooth connectivity issues - Apple news blog  Full Article 

Modi In U.S.

Modi In U.S.

Obama, Modi work to deepen improving U.S.-India ties  Full Article | Full Coverage 

NYT Job Cut

NYT Job Cut

New York Times to cut jobs as new products disappoint  Full Article 

Factory Activity

Factory Activity

Factories expand at slowest pace this year in September  Full Article 

Monetary Policy

Monetary Policy

RBI not biased towards either raising or cutting rates - Rajan  Full Article 

Weak Demand

Weak Demand

Weak demand hits factory activity across Asia, Europe  Full Article 

Pimco Fund

Pimco Fund

Pimco Total Return Fund posts record $23.5 bln net outflow in Sept  Full Article 

Hopeful of Profit

Hopeful of Profit

GM sees first European profit in 2016 after years of losses  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage