WASHINGTON –  Spokesperson for the United States Department of State John Kirby said on Tuesday that it was for the government of Pakistan to decided who would be the next Pakistani Chief Of Army Staff.

During a press briefing, Kirby said that the government of Pakistan would select the next army chief. He said that USA did not want to comment on the decision that will be undertaken by the Pakistani government.

Regarding the political situation in Pakistan and particularly the Pakistan tehreek-e-Insaf’s movement, Kirby said that USA was aware of the protest situation in the country.

“The United States will continue to support freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. It’s well documented that we do that. We talk about it every day, including the right of peaceful protest. So we want these rights to be exercised responsibly, and all parties should refrain from violence and exercise restraint and respect the rule of law” he said.

Pakistan’s current Chief Of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif is set to retire this month and speculations are looming over the next military head.

General Raheel Sharif has enjoyed unprecedented popularity as the army chief due to his leadership in Pakistan’s fight against militants and for spearheading the decisive Operation Zarb-e-Azb due to which some political observers opined that his tenure could be extended although he, himself had a different view suggesting no extension.