Nawaz: What Will a New Army Chief Mean for Pakistan and the Neighborhood?

Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center, writes for the New York TimesIndia Ink on replacing Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani:

Since it was announced last month that Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, would be retiring, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has kept the country dangling on his choice, creating a new parlor game for the chattering classes in the process. General Kayani has been characteristically mum, except for an unusual press release that said he was leaving the office on Nov. 29, without closing out other options, even as he accepted the concurrent role of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Mr. Sharif could begin consolidating his power by making an early and firm choice to replace General Kayani. Explaining the reason behind the choice would end speculation about the process. Currently, the only certainty appears to be the fact that there will be a new army chief come the end of November 2013 and whoever gets the prime minister’s nod will be a changed person after that, for the office in many ways makes the man.