ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) – Leaders from key political parties including former president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari have welcomed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif’s decision for not taking extension in service and to retire at end of his tenure.

“It is good that the rumors that the army chief was seeking an extension have been set aside and a categorical statement made that General Raheel will not seek extension in service,” the former President said in a statement.

He said that the army is a premier institution of the country, the cause of which will be best served if the tradition of extension in service is not allowed to gain roots.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader Qamar Zaman Kaira and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed also hailed army chief’s decision, saying that it will further enhance image of armed forces.

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General Raheel Sharif said on Monday that he will not seek extension in his service and will retire at the end of his tenure in November 2016.

“Pakistan Army is a great institution,” army spokesman Lt. General Asim Bajwa quoted Sharif as saying on Twitter. “I dont believe in extension and will retire on the due date.”

“Efforts to (root) out terrorism will continue with full vigor and resolve. Pakistan’s national interest is supreme and will be safe guarded at all costs,” he further said.

The statement comes at a time when several news reports claimed that federal government was mulling over a proposed extension in services of General Raheel Sharif. The reports also suggested that Raheel Sharif could also be promoted as Field Martial and continue serving in Pakistan army after November 2016.

On the other hand, former army chief General Pervez Musharraf backed the proposal of extension in tenure of COAS Raheel Sharif calling him ‘a great general who could change the days of Pakistan.’

A petition was also Monday filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking a three-year extension in the service of General Raheel Sharif. It is yet to be decided by the court if the petition was admissible or not.

Raheel Sharif was named army chief in 2013, when his predecessor General Ashfaq Kayani’s term — which had been extended by three years — came to an end.

Former military leaders Pervez Musharraf and Zia ul-Haq also extended their own rule during their time in power.