Pakistans powerful Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Sunday declared that he was not seeking any more extension and would retire as scheduled on November 29,laying to rest intense speculation about his future.
My tenure ends on 29th November 2013. On that day I will retire. May the Almighty Allah help and guide us all, Kayani said in a statement.
Kayani was appointed the army chief by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in late 2007. He was given an unprecedented three-year extension by then premier Yousuf Raza Gilani in 2010.
In a surprise announcement,he said institutions and traditions are stronger than individuals and must take precedence. He also reposed militarys support to democracy.
For quite some time,my current responsibilities and likely future plans have been debated in the media with all sorts of rumours and speculations doing the rounds. The subject of being entrusted with new duties has also come up in several reports, he said.
The 61-year-old said he was grateful to the political leadership and the nation for reposing their trust in him and Pakistan Army at this important juncture of countrys national history.
However,I share the general opinion that institutions and traditions are stronger than individuals and must take precedence, he said.
Kayani underlined that as he completes his tenure,the will of the people has taken root and a constitutional orderis in place. The armed forces of Pakistan fully support and want to strengthen this democratic order., he said.
Reports said leading the race for the army chiefs post on the basis of seniority is Lt Gen Haroon Aslam,currently Chief of Logistics Staff.
Aslam will be the senior-most general when Kayani retires.