Raheel The Most Popular General

(Lala Laja, Sialkot)

Is it the duty of Gen Raheel or Nawaz Sharif to ring up Misbah, the Pakistan team Captain, and congratulate his team on achieving a great victory at the Lord’s? Was it Gen Raheel’s responsibility to dash to Karachi and attend the great humanitarian, Abdus Sattar Edhi’s funeral, while the Prime Minister was not in the country? Raheel Sharif is a restless man; he is here now and there then. Rain or shine, day or night, terror incident or natural disaster, inside the country, anywhere in the world – he is seen present there with his team or entourage, usually Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa.

I have heard of the Canadian Prime Minister’s popularity; he seems really a people’s prime minister, who is loved by them the most. Political leaders elected through democratic process, worldwide, are supposed to be popular and unusual. But they are few. Most of them fail to earn fame because they fail to give good governance. Like Nawaz; he is Prime Minister for the third time. Yes, many of his steps have helped improve the economy with Forex at all time high. He is fond of building the roads infrastructure, which earns him criticism, too. But the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is his biggest initiative, which many at home or abroad do not digest because surely it is going to be a fate-changer. In spite of all this, Nawaz is not regarded as popular as the country’s Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif. The Panama papers have badly dented Nawaz’s political standing, but the General has not been hit by a scandal of any kind – either during his military service or since being in the office of Army Chief. His graph of popularity keeps rising. Everybody loves him; he is bold and courageous, daring and daunting. His heroism is a folktale, his Zarb-e-Azb echoes far from the areas of operation.

By face Gen Raheel looks stubborn, rude and adamant. The body language shown in his front-page pictures on newspapers speaks as if he is taunting the government ministers, including the Prime Minister, to mend ways. Social media also carries animations that emit warning shots for the government. The hype is sometime so relevant that the government really gets scared. Not only the ministers of his cabinet, but also Nawaz Sharif himself, give statements fearing an attempt of martial law. WhatsApp has remained abuzz with “inside story of the PM-COAS meeting”, speculating General’s admonishing. But in reality, he is said to be kind hearted, plain speaking and simple. It was speculated that he was the ‘third umpire’ behind the 126-day dharna. But he was not. It was rumoured that he was behind the billboards inviting him to take over. But he is not. It was said that he will get extension like Gen Kayani got in the past. But he refused. His hearts beats with the people of Pakistan, his soldiers and officers. He is bigger than his uniform, his boots and the call of his duty. Bravo, General Raheel, may you live long.

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