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Pakistan nears moment of truth in army chief sweepstakes

Government's nomination of 'real boss' critical for democracy and stability

The imminent retirement of Pakistan's Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, has sent the rumor mill into overdrive regarding his successor.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- Pakistan is poised to nominate its new chief of army staff after weeks of backroom meetings, legal amendments and media campaigning over who will lead the only nuclear-armed military in the Islamic world.

The contenders to replace Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, who is expected to retire by Nov. 29, include two former spy chiefs, a master tactician, an experienced India hand and a counterterrorism specialist. But what should be a simple, bureaucratic decision for the administration led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is in fact a major gamble, as the army chief is ostensibly the most powerful man in the Islamic Republic.

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