Meeting with the General Raheel Shareef

Someone’s casual meeting with RS.  This is a forward and cannot verify contents. Seems someone had a lengthy sitting with him. (Courtesy: Ch. Nasimullah).

– Tall and well built. Slimmer than what he appears on TV.
– Booming voice.RSH

– Can tell he is full of energy and is lad’s lad.

– Chatty and pleasant. Smiling most of the timing. Had a hearty laugh.

– Is a smoker. You are allowed a vice or two, he says!

– He said that he took over in November, and told the govt that wants to launch an operation in December. They didn’t want to do it. Were apprehensive about blow-  back and dilly-dallied! He agreed to wait but after two months he got impatient & especially after Khi airport incident. Then he told NS he is going ahead and launching the operation. Basically implying he didn’t care to listen to them and Just went ahead with it. He felt that they would control the blow back and not doing anything was going to be worse. And time has proved that.

– Linkages between terrorism, corruption, etc.

– Talked about the porous border and that they were going to control it (don’t recall very well what he said – check with the boys).

– They have cleaned out 880 sq Kms already & now small area left.

– 51% of troops now back. He has promised their return (check this again).

– Baldia town and Lahore massacre cases being worked on. He is keeping on eye on them and pushing for their resolution. He wants perpetrators to be brought to justice!

– More action expected over the next 6 months across the board. It seemed like he wants to conclude matters before his term expires and doesn’t want to leave it to the next guy.

– Americans promised that they would get fazllullah. They showed him all this fancy technology and screens which were amazing in Afghanistan. I told them with all this technology you couldn’t get Fazlullah after so many years!!  He clearly wants to take him out.

– What drives him is the 5k soldiers who have lost their lives and their blood.

– Govt works at their own slow pace.

– Sartaj Aziz is very old and recently in the U.N said that we have Taliban here. Of course we do. What’s new? He should have told the entire story about refugees, UN passports, inter marriages. These guys were created by us and the Americans, who invited them to the White House!

– Ch Nisar has to decide fate of Abdul Aziz and the red mosque (will this mosque continue and in what form).  He needs to figure out the end game on this issue. First Nisar said they didn’t have evidence against Abdul Aziz but now they do so he should act.

– India involvement in Pak: he is pushing to publicize their negative role but the NS govt is careful and soft towards India & wants to normalize relations do doesn’t want to advertise this too much.

– He said that they have very strong evidence against Dr Asim. Was confident about this when asked specifically.

– When asked about Altaf Hussain, he was dismissing him and his potency now. Almost as if he will become irrelevant (found this surprising). Does he know something we don’t ?

– When asked about leadership, he believes in the 3Cs (courage, competence and character). Either you have the character or not.

– Have to be persistent and constantly follow up and remind people / subordinates to get the work done.

– Moral character is important in his mind so that you do the right thing.

– Afghanistan: he has made many trips there but their national govt is weak. He is trying to take them along as we have 3mn refugees who are integrated with marriages into Pak.  Talked about Afghanistan’s importance to Pak for various reasons.

– He feels that he has a strong team posted in key positions by him. Was praising Gen Rizwan and some of his key generals.

– He said that the army is battle hardened. All battalions have gone to Waziristan 3 times in the last 10 years.

– He says that he tells NS like it is without holding back. Almost as if he couldn’t care less what he thinks. That does imply that he doesn’t rate him very highly (my impression).

– Doesn’t believe in taking cards (with notes or points of discussion) with him to meet heads of state. He even told that to NS !! (Quite hilarious) He said that he told NS that we need to talk about 5 things that most leaders are interested in: (guys please confirm these points):

1) Nuclear issues and deterrents that we have.

2) Afghanistan: we are working with them. We have told them to bury the past.

3) Local militancy is being tackled. We will not stop in our mission to eradicate them.

4) CPEC. Over 670 km of 900km road done already near Gwadar. He has raised a battalion for the security of the Chinese as they were concerned and raised this issue when he visited them.

– Reko Diq: he is working on getting this area cleaned up and all the issues surrounding it resolved so they can take sell it transparently and develop it for the good of the country.

5) India: Talks on terms agreeable to us. Kashmir is important. Will not pander to them.

– Told the British, when they talked about recent escalation with India, that we will run through India as we are a battle hardened army. We are fighting against an enemy who plays football with the heads of our soldiers. He had a big hearty laugh after that!

– 16k intelligence based operations carried out by them yielding only 250 hardcore terrorists. It’s not easy he says.

– He said that he goes to Karachi and we agree on things in meetings on security and make decisions and then the govt screws up after he leaves with something else. And it’s frustrating.

– Was praising IK and how he has built awareness in the masses. He means well. He is a good balancing factor.  It’s unfortunate that he has had personal problems.

– He knows how powerful he is and didn’t hide it! He said that in the dharna, he could have just given one signal and it was over. But he wanted the system to continue and get stronger.

– Bullish about Gwadar and its development. Has one of his best generals (previous DGMO I think) posted in Baluchistan to sort out their issues.

–  He says he tells it like it is to the govt and NS. They didn’t like it when he said in a speech that governance is a big issue. He said everyone knows it’s an issue, everyone talks about it, yet the govt doesn’t like it coming from me.

You can google it and it will tell you governance is an issue in Pak. I told them to stuff it and improve themselves.

– He was concerned about Daesh’s presence in Pak. He wants to flush them out in the next 6 months! Optimism and urgency in his voice.

– The Australian govt asked him about ISIS. 200 people left for Syria from Australia. He said to them that they should hope they don’t come back and that they die fighting. If they come back to Australia, they should flush them out (I think that is what he said ?)

– Saudi alliance: Pak has a lead role because of our battle hardened and strong army. It’s an alliance for counter-terrorism and for counter-insurgency across the region only.

– We aren’t going to fight in Syria or elsewhere in a war situation. He brushed that off very confidently.

– We mentioned that he should stay a few times as we haven’t had a leader like him. He repeatedly laughed it off. Didn’t dismiss the idea. But I’m not sure what to think about this.

– In summary, he talked about issues facing the country like governance, terrorism, politics, corruption, foreign policy, CPEC, economics, etc etc. And his involvement (direct and implied) in some of these areas.

– This dude is doing more than his COAS Job Description and I can’t imagine the political govt of the day is liking this very much!!  He is also very well aware of the power of his office!  It seems to me that what’s guiding him is doing the right thing for the country and if that means stepping out of his domain on to someone else’s turf then so be it !

 

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