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General would be the first chief to step down on time in two decades, ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Pakistan’s army chief began a farewell tour ahead of his scheduled retirement, indicating he will become the first army chief in two decades to step down on time in a country usually fraught with tensions over the role of the powerful military.
Raheel Sharif, 60 years old, is credited with leading counterterrorism operations that significantly reduced militant activity across Pakistan during his three-year tenure.
He is also seen as a driving force behind a crackdown on the militant wings of political parties in Karachi, which helped stabilize the country’s largest city and economic hub.
Sharif’s two predecessors both received term extensions.
Some opposition politicians and media commentators in Pakistan had questioned whether Gen.
Sharif would serve beyond his retirement date of Nov.
However, Pakistan’s military said as early as January that the general would retire on schedule.
The start of Gen.
Sharif’s retirement tour on Monday, which the military spokesman announced, was taken as further evidence he intended to step down on time.
Departing military chiefs traditionally tour bases across the country and hold farewell meetings with other officials.