As Pakistan Army Chief’s Tenure Nears End, PM Faces Key Choice

JFIF;CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 80 C   %# , #&')*)-0-(0%()(C   (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((q " }!1AQa"q2#BR$3br %&'()*456789:CDEFGHIJSTUVWXYZcdefghijstuvwxyz w!1AQaq"2B #3Rbr $4%&'()*56789:CDEFGHIJSTUVWXYZcdefghijstuvwxyz ?ȋ'M l N'K M1_Ss( hSm꟩(x@-=4eMK78j.V˦VO9<ƣX3mD}\\ơ{+l<ƦbGQP8jv3,-IUxb6e,އj+6?GjUG$+^O }զ>̌\d"34~ǽ9&TEiُՒiQq.C jgR)4\X##%SJ-?zqNEg~-jR{P\ʹ?MIg4S:Qq ,-ǏӆlOjʷF})]Fj'OMhtLesNr2iV?զ44r$#4al<Ƥ$IEq?Mm>ߴaRE;,S?SVmF\Oij՝̦44\hA>cBtS܁YƻM/Z'WUaKX}Q,nhA_kiU]FوQ hw7] spTti)'?棘 #I:qckbx68j/Np?,#_ղPʿa,mh#,`x1edGC3e[yw a\H]_ZEhWpZݺC!< p9Ix3T/H.TD+j5;xG+ڐ}VHycrw"B8 ijτ4LtoH*8qj8K]gqTX=7ɣY576r@VM L}*yl4q-;fV js &pW!OvrZF3oL=m852FӓWa%O ޑխsmj>E*MUZY<<U[ 9Um.gl۔eըjr7GUyƽ u 5es)8ϙ F)°6&SK~g:q@z ܊֌iP1NWuc(֜N3J3@RF94޽is֞F@UL9Q[#404Zh44@-Q.Bӆiiʴ AN4h^h34m#'4ȠE})s֫sVoҤCFFyV5<ԤZ W''.h'cCn#.IeUb\z<].DZRW3|=gQ4b#r)##}+(/I'U$R"0RϹbp8X y*{{$FO#-v*|G,8ǯ^K;bv8}~74Q16T;ڹQ>Êm+E ;qOWwٽaF)|EHri[3G cQfa!oPA'@0g8|*SzWXu=ǥu3X$*p+Kf[UAJn&%,UA+ M1dUĹvn ?5OPӥIeBWCtmܡ/1W_MΛʏq\fVFF((QӚy=:SOI101O¥+Q7րҲ֐TtzԁR,cnG>\t@=V֖FEc@K)u+(V-ZL29[,Y+%R+1i\i`UUmmF`=S.I# PI=Er5 x+B}YB0$³VR@$U\K5^ Ɋ kۊ $H"OĻf="N~q\Ν]孨n /Q[SBgO=Lq޲o R\j-ذ䢕#od8K%̇Pȁvg F+F6aWsEbo U+ NxՔbk {K-<1ޔs}Y'5^[g9q ӑXJ#& tEPF,y8" YB MTV6I҂^~Zҷ=kZ`zVuuߚ8$ zZ?M=q>vGlRg0󻊄-s\xi~tjU ,=}N*fAE3g44#> HN)J8y>qڀhe*Sszc0:ҸAR2s!A &UUMq5{TCa:b0ѡ$F V J $:H#G򦀙vjst0ݗbV.'Phc.٦_B6yHJ=*6w+¹i:0fW=볲#Q:Vž ZK&'Za[wԲv4^^Up2c.zczbKj\SO\VUZnQNAXiuvS@EBN,/4,rj9pN(r*TXaIP+h18D78wZ Tojds=ʹUG9hqM4ijLT/JBldT- ?Hx9# MN~4ޱD9JE1qZpbO=)H@d񞔸8- zSJN)N() sS4y拁P75KMnhC%*M];Խ4=[[S' -Ȫit4Q T9)9׭L1RTZtmc*@j1JF0E0jUQ;J4^82Op() ͌u~G/4k?Eyc3>'2"}TsSsXǫ:#IdvPх94v>\=[q5J p9SqS&5r(0'үn{w֬oC&͇ H的tV)I *'I)gdH3n=uUe L.n7Vepy$`r~T{aUg 6JJI61L1* b1й*ՏZqǂ#L|16z05$BF vm.]Aq޲\݆fG< #Y3[IC!1~G<U7s]J [ ly[%$'uzŒqPIOBcJf{TʁN{WYzCO+NyKhAУa;BcykcZ'R 1HCDkdAje`>Q@mnF^ζQwJdY}qH͌L فi7€$+1\5Y<ZԹҰKFB))^^$'4Yy⥻238Ld1VӢ jgcD Rp9JGzH4ej =M8̀Wz<[kD/|S5\ݏƦ i"xzu5( N4EFdS hDt 3y9BCiN~fiJM; qF~vvzbc4ĝ'1X)xY^p{Q`5^UV$Pm9W\0sɦ4A8#5֤4 ``ӝ\bdHbn硧# T2 ҆ȦȦ-ޕ-FYP XOJg>ZQ~BܤH&!C<4scpEnTȠ=?: *&BMz䑡1FQd8$T:ђ[nqj ֩pFzSbFF{7cǩH1R]Tu% c֭:dA֢c#҅s=8Bgab@zӖf {Iw3lU7xa4uk QuA)o+#<{m ::2{tЇ9$9梚nXmf#if^wV!Il!.H+JܩҪ,{\yxےNhDr0sͨ2*X?Һ>OSH!\x f֥'ԣo85f=pwKֲc:ֶKCp&@=ɦ[:E9p*ڛy3qhlM8rVHֆRڑ^1KE e.#fk& ^E)8+V\8xs׹*r:YsY#W^*?iz1>g2ȤuZTk-F qQ̻S$ڱ Τ 2{6_OJHV.5²:HHozʓW Yć'*~jfv5u TL1qV4(lc&L)bzSk_j_ɐww5k9mHd?!Y^ ]y[\ rl,c fc *ݣm%ƚhؕ<63*m#9Fȩ)c‚4;­# yAs q e"C6-?fcQO5 sQ=j䬠ym8B2-H5.#nܜ& bBq8;jZg޹.3jU|VMs!殯#~jg-GLPȂ;b;F**x_K1*qdsZhcjesJiI3ӂ>{4\zz`yd1F w"J瓚FrFCJA"Nqեv#1ӹ7C$␈sJINwҁ < k)zS~43֚z 0tU*=)T):P1r)B;n I8/$DVlV*X@_WqZ_Ԁ\p3Lޟ*jrq@l) fGJv1Lc()`Ԍ{GL`f~qE.(qJh=iOj1+BpvMS7zгT?w#5-G5@3q+ռ.Tc(=9$' s^ v&rIgJ;i;jY6sODХRRO<Z g=AV6w2dm^.Rfln#qZr+ץNkCoCڶR\Hޘ5jal [#ՔÑַm?"ٙ^B>To L{1NO6ೝ$"zTCI6YOҬG&~UMIjxcښxgn2ڤ`IMM4Y7#frs[V3-sqihF)e=U`d|1FiJH,FxͤY?ilBa8gRE~7w<#}kXG?J i f7$QFUirJx.?媪ʧ㨪r-eu*zS(Al Vvc1wr^bc }ACF=*_Y\٪\u֤$m?s5uӨnC}X0jy|#֧RN uzxgv07Xx9ZpjvJ1\R3]/+W-A MX\גC&{f3n\7̽phjcsfqҘ˂+T ⺛+& XS,>kՓzq]r#e"Z3W#n f=ɮ5kVT [0P3U4؀5$ͧ @w7"Rަх뚮ynk6?ʧ[-TqVĻTVU^: ͙GJAKGzHVҔhI'@I4nzדUsR|Qa4n;Ю &@<j ژÚ94#!N5!S/8:S;9֐A+xNژs0'YCFj1^)@Z%@j\7mҡa{G4&sLbLzR?J(fX9(AS8d1OzԶ(eRsҳ`)RAտcBpZL-Kq2"I$עis<#8 p+Bn6FӒw~{Its@9ڦEbwm jrFȠ ˍ6DH ⹙s"gE kv"E9S4msjZvBO]Q4o/qLPj1s $H[Y$iy~\hmAV !ue0J屫}{ 쭹b܌CBwČF~r]pF>ajlrq[{e˺䞂."(r6L a69T.I @=T2s HP;M,ʮ!pk2~;6ͽ˰2O6O,mdgl酛;7T6L]fG9\⠻o3VCLoEu&&ΓV֬$o=o;EG|kWэ(=EqwR35xqBФ=3P#mgiͮdee{Wfk{Jk(gqTҹZ7'ۜe[0V%OBx+Y 7s$) GR(Ra&Rƥfd>^?zVΝW ܜ:ү.py'!yLIsU9]Os>! {jċxĴA*zW[xSʃը|[*JѕIFz%fW޲1%Vldm̵Ծ4d23(;pHϼ|[v]F 1g$A=~hpX<0 RTb qSdP4a>a52ܱe*Ƕ~Yr #niySDw).e !kտ ʒLڹgHYЪ k%+jLj\69Zb3)YL1N}p KcDFCsPK=im!۶T{Ժ$(X@7."9hZYʑQ\xSz[[0mi1ăOjӊJi Xґy#6E իYJ9Sj6oNg\+Xmz3PfʁjƤ9\u.YoY@1Y0]skN#?w':m8*SspEcmjs" mj]t&Ƥ97v8e$dեVlnDl|}*'銳$UxZ!VPa} \7!ګ 'IJPܩHkS6C+lg^}Jmexc;UA' -s9_2 U%w`y棙pqNwGU 0.9X)” Q0#"&(;9] .y faOP! fx"RZHqarNy *FBFE+#@x"ESS'nj4JS"z\|]i{gH}TmO Z;p)N)*K [zT:7&z=6Jb*h )v(+-yP@`pzD0YeݯyӐ}Ezn̖0ʷ^8).In6÷^y=i\*HbN}+/dRB\V$.P8m^I6a>yUu˱Q^Kan==hjs%[Euv IQּZЙnIuIH#Թ5ʎ Ȯnw,=2 f\fe9IQ5ưlCӆ&4K|ޟyj62_'&ZÓtZgKfl4rq>qw|cI# f+Cq`z3QtDׇdiT"IXO3W^-ʴ[K \n`kR7G[5Ҽnb8lqW*#>!݃Wp$qQ{l=I5ž#G" @D8{ @̼RDXrU1p{."!ICr+UUfbɀ>p m񌓊# `t=h/LK#8OZֱtV,9 HYG+hTqfH$ *E cӵ)!ңE.K|UjcRfHj6c1ۚ41LfّlwQ>46]߀k'SQA"HkIO#mI}x!8MݸzǷ]8E r]@bkBb;JN 2NBr!F 1O-Ya!޾JaӋIwB$|ZWUOx\)P)7;Ê%djsrqOw.Ob+)KFqUh"lsYIaVZEsZΒ SژGp,vQ$8yҲ)X3=d|#ǭM3 $*OQODl}ڃ6Ue;y*WEj]ա|J4-ũ'#;njEq ieU{$>{'&{R}k4=Ha)ǟ&;zPFiO4`SC֤)%dHB)PyN1 LM ⤑Ui@c}dB0-N5^ Hg;x> q D 9ZYmXXvhL-M?QUn6lwpyPNQRH1k$F5'}p18<+H[_MkgI)ᤎgؕD}jrbtHڧ(ީRtacXF#A+(\c3N>CDj^GOYCV¹jhE鴌qޘ"#ҨM.pjڎ3#\hl?ۂAҬ I Za TylLl`;$dtk]\[3H Vc[ojޫrv=ElDTO5<$]Dd̢0GqS\\!Qp}k.YLM2iBYhwFBĥW+?3MZl7(sΟ3Lj$F1,jFӶG8\p̼UKW#=kfK`0AFrM\9!=3T`|Θ;p sFfg`hb]k22qXPUp1YAgXт!^4> uCk9_ qҌҥɰ<@M ֗iֽCbVriJR9'RQMC4 1y$PpE7PO}CR8 ֟dP&R!E=phSLJAs(' E)`Q$lGj9;㿽G" 5@W9֤*OJfÑJ)C50RG U]?کr%6^0Ԋp0OJxC.rQE(Ϙ r'ߒVrmXW(i─ r?xfvzCeG@  @x0Q͊kX ?CY԰KC!ꮧGsn.7]o5/QF.Nz.DrU['b"*RzT6HW =a~kJFٵNTt,dv 흒"=o[6UD-V' OrޞD(Ϩ\5ŧXȠsȭgqu:,ڔ1*8qҵBS7nomIcUr=cPfctj]2ӱr^.noz1Dz^ZSAw5tPwIy$V-P8=zVN- >HE;›ʱnI)Vi9.Kj̖%z]8#5IܐU."r6r;W@ڪI?2Hkl\4bܦ5"@qZ)Q2z He>Ւs[s:Y5Sc1Y2՛nB Rs]JPy}IgOqUdR=@u[)!..'HȽpip29p$y5r21ZFV?6EDcqRp} v@VF h)NTNhPڽ@a }imgcހ (#ғ<Ӆp#in jt}D4vږ6WDgޕ^c{yi'&#j!BmNO1POF ֝sR mP~x$#֣iTyJx9MiOJ|jR8 s<;qų@^Oq\I0=t$dp+-Nflc#wFjZl(B@Q=cx&v:gvt&\q\:aI;6~QVe Z*Of WQUG-}i^PS$"|pO\s3TkG9 ["2;V$:Hb LoF."ʐ2;rv3yc3Ȍ>Be\4jFjd&08ݓO$ʺJrO>NyücM"7`Bno Uu[7w qW˥e2uv{$4 c6Yag=k#Rv%cg٤wѬ2_-8V| 뚿u܈ءfq 6}֢njWؽs~I \mR} 9lvmt1j۾x`sN{么6WgI\HNAڣX̭YNT9&NXmǦ~H݀+E\CǽL`{V^zTInJqu'Dd=i{2pW4noLsV9^i{9zBEw icJH"z M jB800cޘVRhؠ B0>ӕ`OPi.)sNV'47ӺrHFp udFc׵5qõDǁ~N9Dxq]DvOp%2p30:ԍ:f#RI C 9ry;o4ӜsRsJ;4i@HPQ XZi6 Pv95Ý<]>9חyRmk 8fvAf\w+c=mCi7mI{8-Eyˈrup0Ƀ•uz48/?ôОd039qv/A\iCe}VJ%{(~ di8!qvڰtgk. nP)9R04t5SMerH #;V̬3+"HzRd΂@I9l׽g6ϱLK@ +w8lsD_qOSɥ=2;S"RI'`b0IZ"G/jѡa5Ej3kI:V+|>SF1#&Zcpx̗+ʋ >eVF.)p(>vO]=uwT'zciS(gtW "q\D|*v+ߵvUtVci#Pza2Ӊ?(Ǥ.X}J\C*W|5ǩ ljx/#4#E ִn@`H>ċh<ư \GְbF'v?Jp.7g{p8btP p>%,F[Y8n1?CV!gfjK}(b*(TmrAra'N9WCGJx0߭ǽ!`i@TJy8 WڜX@0xLSsOx4SdB=J]A2*Gҿ-P *Lds֘9( #wc< $*/=956銞$.71v\J$[*Je MQLbQך[!7 c֥d|Ѱfc;{PF:pP[>q@䊑X ԍR('r:`ԑ˻"-*彮":T298$eH,dq4#g)lgؤ*Ώ}\)?SrJdckRԸk~GVFL[{< \Ya.h֝H݂Ktl2յ0m G^\w#DŽU_ ]d(6J#3RH޵^ғ9ekQUqtY9$  '6HI/`ZF; IbmwkP`ggg\>JVjBNy1<䞤?nu4'cnJ^'ssVvsԒoOn #aԚtWBGXz"~9JlySxsڦcg1Km/Ec#E)*7MU~PI0sҔ-DH9Gz|SA"OIP7!4?ݒA]m.Ld{ٶ 6W"p9;)0 ajaEu*3h9jLwUpGjNPɭ}ce̩TJTB:v˥Kd$Tel<7s7ZObC~y҄%5B`Dzڛad͋YK6NձjscҺ651nqg+KC2 ^̠iʂ ZӍAZߑ,չPNjhxhɭ '5rPW9dw0 `WSc$51Y^O0dX{RfOTșʞY횞|`~tb,p;x38 +ko6NjنaZƃ{?g͵Zr#֌6PB1q֋(g95hB:"6f A#(`2Ork$$Շym9jsg5VE5zeJz1uٳsg8 =kز" n (FN*g+}qvngڹjr:AmVl,_crr?+U>]VW5u0隥(eخFWR(0}} qޅ2t~.V΀\\'Zݧl #޳`~ #9Wj句Yh\dUR8jKMԭ8צ}OT"2:-:mB w;_,#4\X~ tnMSJ^zcKsΫW-+}U摺'!3K.qЯ&atK^ھǸͅ9W9M=00f#mnZPEsW߁B:KKªNG\ }"uW? >IWhʉ7>oaեbcl ɍcjDm ռ,# W+YSg"㝗ڟ2p_n) 6OUB u ܵʣu 'C;}YnErMhR&0ff~k 1p \kl8Z%:+FwoZM0F+bup;f#|:dQ_Mk̏q~w#wJ 5߀ {W;pJ;I8z ?hۿ5XKx+"-oqҷtYTmRL-=@h$d* 1qHw RGϊ2ϼ,(u#j?2V [-\Yv~)kln|ֺiӊMbҬ(qok͔4 r Yۊ0b4)sBJޝ,;fHǭ}(L׋~Жd6(3 X᫜ .x'֣.}9 L>GOJQ VcfKqVv8֨E$h񑔭(:z0S*xqRR`j SI&#P[aݎQH )!usRyMOds@KYJĴ;X]Oaȡ%H. t?/r9Gb(hY0\1f%ʨ䒸Ud8- NfH{Qq 򜚧i6zwd0n LT)'ک5*@k$j5-2KʵU!!`*s]~pldlVYYG>E`ta;cRj[_,cjHrwQs75ǗVז$'ckK~H*G>ƨj}Mc9%֤7 ԓjżz=Eܕ8Tuҁqkk i"砨[U)3JkZifQ*Z28e&8KhOj5h+ml+mgR9% K++P)`OJ< OJm5 JɱX5vC zU */֦@>bKzq4.>;=\,$]2{u7/?Jϑ.Sfqڦ73fŸ52qsI .O<qHsM#D5NisHMZhc)ZJ`7֔GS@BHJ3bR &?\n}UضU)@ A 4威HH<(ր2O@:m_] xa6].EfU$z0U) :w`^pKicojmXSrH׊#qD1SjTM8.柑й\8=iUq'ކ9拌@>^Ny!㩥/ADL~~9S3f@2h_Y%Gl6zZe a+seZu5y%FפrmG |qHGXKGҵm2V&r)\, NEbxX '](2I=MW-ńy_#ҡ`j)IqH m7\RA@I}ia*ZE*C`}x8jT}c 8[ k$Ug֣FHW,QwszShԛH>/zbـ"bv8 ӝ 7?ׅHkǝ8jFv/E+W*3< k>hbmwW^mDc)? AEaujF)SáѬ78,=)i\R^p9ՕMn(+\E]Mr1)p1֩ #!f wUX5Ջ[A.i_6>;Ύ>nF+MA/UFa\IVdU94Okh8E1 &%b0b`oiZ^_Pq{ Iz6VviGIrzSa\.A4v@64zqTBX`z `} Bmr{⋁m'+EKÎOfhIA^qZ2=H]Dђ!I5pGyK>&vtb;3tpT^Sm,?Y<2F{mWM`.G=q\΀7s+^d5)1v^U3)v-5HnvNخZ_M5NY(bry֧ q{ 7Ō) Vԩ r&̄al2aXHخ?P?ʦCBigf@Nz{`95^ gDV\*$Z`rC˜.`֔j!+REb1RE!$Ʊ@5h3ycw$1Xaw,Ɍ#9sc<}i=t1UIc&UO/kjWg8"l&ZmC&ѝD7ԓhF; 1N.t'S$P߶LqRer1QPRxt&]9ǵ><OJaz  @n4pqYnNjD`.{:=uUKQXnE 2匳wbSOʣb.L0 Dzǭ&pԄ)9$rkY Re=s H_O|ۗUI=CY!.Aid49a\X1={Sp0 *SUN)J^(`mhPG?#ߧnppGzpUsО)L1JtێxbU 62i['>i0$PNx=z(7caYl1[ϲ|}c"c'׫| :XxϡkIjW:Foyg(U ZD .>{%k4۴Mox{}߇mbV}kf8ǥW iZ=pr+|mɠHd%5÷'ӭyƝ%gٽDKin>S_ y6Wh5^;V]nnѷ#%9;^slA虦t`) 4&'Y]rGF)A`9TZ,oOMq{ؔSʅ~yQ&19a7:X:$U%KluP!foaXSs#|VX c$K[$UfAt6vrkV+~:hgFNsL]Xo…k?PҝxRl`F3WBۅ֡P♶I< bcnzΉ,f(j0!$7P~CޣUq!Aio6>mL!#s'ZZddrZεvpC ֬Q jDKajC5f05)?ݭ!"\sWgIɨ_34ۚHHTlL )|gSF(CC zҎJzPOҤgJzchJj~rxըqUSS'Ҹ,*؎E] "n(bFʥȹ EkXn¼MG( 삲pG``A ץCva5C3f%m@i7D¿GZC̉GF7ZPn!ƄJG8|1HTd瑞(ba*УpcR+`:PSqNl`bS˓)d'a(ve֣u9z'E4}c4}$,H?OCZ #=E-[.UԂozlWDױ #8rF3N"C0`#^P+֝ d?>;!+lT/bE?))!RA}*W'PП uo &lyR{:q]KF+j %#ߦJ(9$:WLmGm+Asn:pg˟d0h(=:djNIL 7H N8Qw{w2z} ( _5');ŕx'ھEʣ ã{=ԧ̶bP1Jj*b \aҤ6$4۰e\FWrjR)8Lf(Nj\q?V."0fKg*}im_HQ@*b1"V;q,Mi\0(B n L SJH8*'c.= F';0S "+i-RĒEbI?tNz+qƊpd9~cïXcI^F;sNxʊ x$?Z{s(RtvKQ  Y' : kSi)ņ>'Zt-PFTcJ}oy9ւd{{q#; j1`A4\ A'+7WK'~*Tw'<9.8=)&^2JITlI̜%?잣B40L=*<査p O)x<`Q M3Ԝ9#q4r$3PCpj€A%?mapkQuF5J]'޾;Oð 2QVؖvq}k;:"vדe*3^=7ognsh{U# |>ZܰZV(4y x޷rILzbG,WSvem_IY!m? $W|AմYItcv#WZI =Oaq[ZMfoh-ͱ'S6lԌ1k;:զEbrgߺh:д2C ]l$Ҵ2=d b8Q{VsIi5-!p:UqBVWv#!-ã!PkMZ3 D}eP=gp_B19].g3M:Xs 榨"~u$RDd>hqҔPN ?0G\b1u 6Iu:֣'GCH*֧''e (X<6sQ+2iæz6S5VL/N t}v=B'}r1Mӈ\;I"gTEb]8dϵs_SJ=.m|jƿp: +SOğ+i X㚾ӈ=j#18|Q;S"br)\\{5Y!`իpl-gzVdu>TR4͛{r+F=A0zW4[[WO5T]58T\J'*xD` 5ɬ2[,~fMc`+^kij"A\\< ~vǖK*ܸj)nMWS):m./涭a2݁n5ZeuiX,s-j ׊eř3WHdҫMQ%@8{jq@ <(RD72=+( >֫⯲sPZ*`"I1[ZL*A]$RyMcMGZXqǭ(S$y`ӸjpAǽ4jjLsR:Siʫ}*X0TJld|^p1q5gCc<4=1EiUQϭwUU!Or)[iַw1+7UYq=5CqJ Bjγ*1chJgIF{TvWb 6BެVQGJΌB t!<5lKɭ/4 [2+ibz U&#PWt+|QT]i[dT9ZkښwMv )>_˟^i),DKԞs)(,ve,Aa}sMIPNIN091Ep╈<89fp0*s/  *pBHKRX0*m d-=Iԁ=8\9$<ǿpG9U t)Ҁ09?}" Fjo2dVl\Έpr}EufB0:X.fӞk>pZLq}Rn%jl l6kjXpB98C/Bi9a\%f6*_]o}b{|LH*6NzW42on4vGZQDӎ&j{Qیl=jˎ(ik,2ayW$5^-;'  G" U'Jz>zWT HJqoJUluYȤ ,U{)Uu4} 'wK-gk3Y *6 ܟ!A?u]Ft1J|<8[2b##s[iYAT599 g} y ^29j;GW°_WKg x3tW?wnLFCV?J, v\Vm9nsZha#205k+=k|!j{EJi;BO#VoI5*ю [TjЋ%kTyז8K&t08D*B#zI4l9>@QC1j3p܊@Lp{+J`(5MIjy)hs{MbtrPw(`Ggp6.Xu<~~ǩ\$b$㰨Ԓy)˃=i ὈP9(l1H'%[=xWj' G/#xeSa4)0ebsLG,m}@Mv'fB|fOi/#DI:0Tzʓqz&Zݯ1n ߰]J@T7Q(gyw^O0qlL7zTCG#$y8w:Ul#e]KNN "&ȍ|{ۭg[9q/~[ :yl7>}]?mD^pQn E(zxG=.#KUZ%(r>5f5QE 1k?ip5 \pQԟ^kſihwi$ˆSt!3F)bLmN=+bE$iA*Ne>B xǹ4rqQJzsOILoh}F(:C*)Hv/JFmח>Jl$R"v;uaCӊi>&'!g< W|>bqPLC79 hcGC?*=RQbUl0xB4 }sHGV\")0O8\w"Lkby8 /yә `ǃ_,SjJs[#MaRHcY>3dw< 9dpfQE&r6b~UBFYDKwF*".=M(g^'M>fXPa!<V<ܬmZ:IO%) >՞* GMEF*#;y.$t_`թ%5C7bGs]cZK7 " TM,9cX4x "y (1HLhGtX8=3C:éiTАdȠtUDgS c\i0&xMG3G= +֙S,_ΘdLz],}:^#D2Ч b?P4চ%z} p(6?v^d(N4`9=a[ _\D`=BP2IqȨ~# kM8S۾ A.Er_UiKii23yW(x g%>= LzsetP?l~PjiΧ:#3otmpspmVZu:hm`A^r`%Ćغa:U+ҵ!m/3 Sºk m}ݸlwNsڥg@$t7XIylx/3FJʌ305/B'N7[JX \dW [G )ʼnGNy2zǏS>ƥ:ƪ4> A泿q[gҮcM_]qޘ u+e_H5+,_[N:p} JiK=WiNcE=<.w\gjv8ɽu_]N7.~jb'܇Ўw&]\$lϚUeo~.8~VEq8zc֧ޯ VONh:iszxt ^~2ӿ4֟4\ *3D#um?_QIdbҸIJ! \ƶV:UQ0|g2}j7~_s+.,J$ۻ9쎌%o֍^RP1՗y:vnDowh ֫j{3bԁ/ԳV3+>#6γ)VS#wֵGpn1fdP:xڹԭ3ޯٌٰw`H>4Ԭ|;/.uW@BF>јFH17`W4Y*)Yrf^^.$SIpN`?*Yі u"Mpv6pJ~֋jƙenλD_8 {uOÃTFgtއ`iEr|C?iK ?8spUάהёo];$u7q 7š.mhwwtlAD@pf;=\1 7ǶjƧ`Za, o[]ៜ ~epVگlm*@]'!U@֩I2^r?,9[n?l Q|\4y5V91b '" AJK4=꘼|C<^0.1M7&l\}a-8 ZIH^@qL{r?ş+Z䅑j{8ߵVXaG]®ժF\C5ۨ?8BPhHh?Z{1c:ק,{Ξ!5Ks  xDvb֘相ƼW2qXGZs㬼YA)HjÌ6_mNZjr+3lw~ѐ5,]5"e}jVN;:!"kBIҶ*Ȅ}k̤t_PS]hbr>kS:i12ŶÍܚ"{ڳZ1Rw]ig=Sj)BmV6b?k:{| F FTQEz&EPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEPEP
Warning: fopen(https://newsweekme.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nawaz-sharif1-780x369.jpg): failed to open stream: HTTP wrapper does not support writeable connections in /home/newsweekme/public_html/wp-includes/class-wp-image-editor.php on line 428

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faces a key choice in the coming weeks about who should run Pakistan's powerful military, one that will have a major influence on the country's often strained relationships with the United States and nuclear rival India.

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik

ISLAMABAD, Sept 28 – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faces a key choice in the coming weeks about who should run Pakistan’s powerful military, one that will have a major influence on the country’s often strained relationships with the United States and nuclear rival India.

With Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif saying he will step down when his tenure ends in November, the top post is up for grabs, and the prime minister decides who gets it.

Overshadowing the process has been speculation in the media and by some government officials that the general, no relation to the premier, may seek to hold on to some or all of his powers even after his term is finished.

The general is immensely popular among ordinary Pakistanis, who see him as a bulwark against crime, corruption and Islamist militant violence.

He has also strengthened the military’s grip over aspects of government, including the judiciary and areas of security policy.

Yet the military flatly rejects the possibility of an extension.

“I will request you to avoid speculations, because we have already taken a position very clearly,” Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa, the army’s main spokesman, told a recent press briefing.

The military declined to comment further and said General Sharif was not available for interview.

In a country prone to military coups, including one in which Nawaz Sharif himself was ousted from power in 1999, suspicions that the general will remain in his post persist, including among some of the prime minister’s senior aides.

Reuters has no independent evidence to corroborate this view.

“Army chiefs soon begin to think they are invincibles-in-chief,” said a close aide to Nawaz Sharif, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak about military appointments.

What happens at the top of Pakistan’s armed forces will be closely watched overseas.

With nearly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting the Afghan Taliban and other militant groups, Washington is losing patience with what it says is Pakistan’s failure to hunt down insurgents who launch attacks on Afghanistan from Pakistani territory. Pakistan denies this.

India has ratcheted up rhetoric against Pakistan, alarmed at an escalation of violence in the disputed region of Kashmir, including an attack on an army base there that killed 18 soldiers. Islamabad denies accusations it was behind the raid.

LIST OF CONTENDERS

According to three close aides to the prime minister and a senior military official, the military high command has sent the prime minister the dossiers of four main contenders.

The premier’s favourite, the aides said, was Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal Ramday, commander of XXXI Corps who led a 2009 operation to drive the Pakistani Taliban militant movement from Swat Valley near the Afghan border.

The three other dossiers are for Lieutenant General Zubair Hayat, Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad, commanding officer in the eastern city of Multan, and Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who heads the army’s Training and Evaluation Wing.

Ramday is considered among the front-runners, in part because his family has been associated with Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PMLN) party for many years.

He is also seen by some security officials as popular with General Sharif.

“He’s perhaps as liked by Raheel Sharif as he is by Nawaz Sharif,” said a senior security official based in Islamabad, declining to be named.

Neither the prime minister nor General Sharif have commented publicly on his chances.

Hayat oversees intelligence and operational affairs at the army’s General Headquarters, and before that headed the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which is responsible for Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

Retired and serving officers who have served with Hayat see him as a compromise between the military and civilian government.

Ahmad has extensive experience with military operations, especially against Pakistan’s Taliban insurgency, and was previously the Director General Military Operations.

Several past army chiefs had served as DGMOs before being promoted to the top post.

A serving brigadier who has worked with Bajwa said he was the general “most similar in temperament to General Raheel”, adding that: “His chances are also very good.”

The army’s media wing did not respond to requests to interview the four contenders.

WRESTING BACK POWER

If Nawaz Sharif appoints a new army chief, it could allow him to claw back some of the influence he has ceded since coming to power in 2013, analysts said.

In 2014, the prime minister emerged in charge but weakened after protests demanding his resignation, and that year the army also went against his wishes for a negotiated settlement with Taliban militants by sending troops into North Waziristan.

“Nawaz has lost a lot of ground to the military during Raheel’s tenure,” Talat Masood, a retired general and political analyst said. “He will try and retake certain space by asserting himself. I think he would like a change in leadership.”

Sharif has been quiet on the issue of the military’s ascendancy in public.

But a statement from his office late last year, issued after the military urged the government to match its efforts in fighting militancy, said “all institutions have to play their role, while remaining within the ambit of the constitution.”

Under Raheel Sharif, the army tightened control over the battle against militants, including creating military courts that have sentenced dozens of people to death.

The courts have been criticised by lawyers and families of defendants for denying basic rights, and some are challenging the courts’ rulings through the civilian judiciary.

The military has also taken a lead role in policing the southern city of Karachi, a broadly popular operation that has reduced rampant crime but also been denounced as heavy-handed and open to abuses including extra-judicial killings.

“If Raheel Sharif hadn’t been chief, these militants and criminals would have destroyed Pakistan,” said Bismillah Khan, a bus driver in the southwestern city of Quetta. “I hope whoever replaces him will be just like him.”

Social Streams

Comments

comments

Facebook Comments

Post a comment