Pakistan has named a new army chief, elevating General Raheel Sharif to one of the most powerful positions in the nation.
A statement from the office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the decision Wednesday, and General Sharif is expected to take command on Thursday. The two men are not related.
General Sharif takes over from General Ashfaq Kayani, who is retiring after six years in charge of the nation's military. In his new post, Sharif inherits such challenges as Pakistan's Taliban insurgency, strained relations with India, and the drawdown of the 12-year NATO mission in neighboring Afghanistan.
Sharif is from a decorated military family. His older brother, a war hero, won Pakistan's highest military award for valor in the 1971 war with India. Sharif himself has played a big part in shaping Pakistan's policy on the Taliban insurgency.
The 600,000-strong army wields great power in Pakistan, having ruled the country for more than half of its 66-year history since winning independence from Britain.