Mysterious banners in Pakistan urge Army Chief to contest election

Islamabad, Nov 5 (IANS) Mysterious banners in Pakistan with pictures of the Army Chief General Raheel Sharif are once again surfacing in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. But this time the message urges the army general to “participate” in the next general election due in 2018.

The banners in bold English, urge the Army Chief – who is due to retire November 29 – to participate in the next general election in 2018. The text of the posters urges Parliament to amend a law which bars army officials from taking part in political activities for at least two years after retirement, reports the Express News.

This is not the first time banners relating to the popular Army Chief have cropped up in major cities in Pakistan. In July, banners with pictures of Gen. Sharif were on display in major cities across Pakistan, urging him to impose martial law and take control of the country.

Interestingly, the banners sprung up overnight on all major boulevards in the cities despite the presence of several security checkpoints and patrol. The banners were put up in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Faisalabad, among others.

In February, days after Gen. Sharif announced he would step down, banners were put up on the streets of the capital urging him to extend his tenure.

However, unlike the most recent banner, the old banners were put out by an organisation named the “Move on Pakistan” party. The party – which has little grass-root support – has been registered with the ECP and a businessman from Faisalabad, Mohammad Kamran, is its chairman.

On January 25, Gen. Raheel Sharif laid to rest speculation that he would 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.

By declaring his intentions well in advance, Gen. Sharif has become the first army chief since 1998 to doff his military uniform after completing his three-year tenure. He was appointed as the country’s 15th army chief on November 29, 2013.

–IANS

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