Islamabad, Oct. 6 (Reuters): Ashfaq Kayani, the head of Pakistan’s powerful military, today said he would retire in November as planned, in an announcement many believe will help bolster the fragile democracy of the nation.
Pakistanis have been speculating for months whether 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.”
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 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wants to revamp the committee to become a central defence body that will command the entire military establishment.
Kayani’s appointment as the head of the committee would mean he was still de facto head of the military.