The ceremony was also attended by Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mehmood, Chief of Naval Staff Muhammad Asif Sandial, Chief of Air Staff Tahir Rafiq Butt, senior officers of the armed forces and diplomats of foreign countries.
A smartly contingent of army presented the guard of honor to the outgoing Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The smartly turned contingents of the army played classical tunes of all provinces.
Addressing the ceremony as chief guest General Kayani said when he took over the charge army chief, the country was facing many challenges, adding that all decisions made by him were in the best interest of the country.
He said the future of the country is bright and army is ready to face any internal or external challenge. We have to think for the country keeping ourselves above from ethnic, sectarian or any other considerations. He said Pakistan will live forever.
Earlier, General Kayani laid floral wreath on the monument of martyrs.
General Raheel Sharif assumed charge as 15th Chief of Army Staff in Rawalpindi on Friday
At a ceremony at general headquarters, the outgoing Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani passed on command stick to the new army chief.
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said Pakistan Army is fully capable to meet any internal and external challenges. He said the army is protecting not only the geographical borders of the country but has always been at the forefront to tackle internal issues such as natural calamities.
About his military career, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said he considers it a pride to have been the head of this great force for six years, adding that he always pursued the course of honesty, steadfastness and took all the decisions with good intent to meet the challenges. He thanked the officers and jawans for extending full cooperation to him.
General Kayani said Pakistan Army gave excellent performance against terrorism with the support of the nation which caused grave damage to the country. He said our officers and jawans rendered matchless sacrifices in this war and were successful to bring peace in various parts of the country. He said their names will be written in golden words in the history. He said our soldier is a precious asset and their is no substitute of him.
General Kayani also thanked the nation for supporting him as army chief to serve the nation. He expressed the confidence that new military leadership will continue to work with the same spirit to further improve professional skills of the Pakistan Army. He said Pakistan has been facing terrorism for the past one decade and the menace had harmed the country at a large scale.
He expressed the confidence that Pakistan Army under the leadership of new Army Chief General Raheel Sharif will achieve more successes.
“I’m confident that in the leadership of General Raheel Sharif the army will progress more. I pray may he discharge his duties effectively for the prosperity and development of the country.”
“Even after the retirement my heart and soul will remain attached with the nation and the army,” Gen Kayani concluded.
He said the Pakistan Army overcame all challenges in a professional manner and never disappointed the nation while dealing with the internal threats or natural calamities. “The biggest sacrifice is that of one’s life and the army has always been ready to lay down their lives for the country throughout history,” he said.
General Kayani paid tribute to the soldiers of the Pakistan army saying they had made unprecedented sacrifices over the last few years.
“There is no place in any part of the country where there is no tomb of our martyrs, but in the last decade there has been a rapid increase in the number of these tombs.”
General Kayani further said that no one can stop us from progressing and attaining a distinctive point at the international level.
He said that everyone has to play a positive role for the development of the country by rising above all sectarian and ethnic differences. “Difficulties are always challenges for nations but we have to find a way to face and solve them.”
In his concluding remarks, General Kayani said that even after his retirement, his heart will continue to beat with the Pakistan Army. He, then, wished best of luck to Pakistan, Pakistan Army and all the personnel.
Earlier, the outgoing Chief General Ashfaq Perevez Kyani laid floral wreath at the monument of martyrs.
General Raheel Sharif carries with him a vast experience of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments.
He served as General Officer Commanding of an Infantry Division and the Commandant of prestigious Pakistan Military Academy. As a Lieutenant General he served as Corps Commander 30 Corps for two years before taking over as Inspector General Training and Evaluation in which capacity he oversaw the training of Pakistan Army.
Kayani was appointed the army chief by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2007 and received an unprecedented three-year extension from premier Yousuf Raza Gilani in 2010. During his six years tenure, he came across formidable challenges.
On Wednesday, the government had announced career infantry officer Raheel Sharif to succeed Kayani. Gen Rashad Mehmood was named the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee the same day.
Just prior to his appointment, Gen Sharif was serving as Inspector General Training and Evaluation with the rank of a Lt General.
Gen Sharif also holds the Hilal-i-Imtiaz military award, and is the younger brother of late Major Shabbir Sharif, who received the Nishan-i-Haider for his services in the 1971 war.
Gen Sharif’s selection as army chief selection implies that frontrunner and the senior most military officer Lt Gen Haroon Aslam was ignored for the elevation. Lt Gen Aslam retired soon after the latest key military appointments.