The ceremony at general headquarters was attended by senior government officials‚ army officers and diplomats.

On the occasion‚ a contingent of armed forces presented farewell guard of honor to Kayani, who retired after serving as the chief of Army for six years.
    
The 57-year-old Sharif, who is considered an old India hand and whose elder brother died in the 1971 war with India, was chosen by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to end several months of speculation.
    
The appointment of Sharif comes amid tensions on the border with India and Pakistan's fight with Taliban insurgents and increased violence in the country.

Pakistani analysts view Sharif, who will head the 600,000-strong army, as a moderate who sees the militant threat inside Pakistan as just as important as the strategic tussle with India.

(Agencies)

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