Ex-ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Asim Munir Appointed New Pakistan Army Chief

ISLAMABAD: Former ISI chief lieutenant general Asim Mounir will be the next Pakistan Army Chief, PM Shehbaz Sharif announced on Thursday and ended weeks of speculation over who will succeed General Qamar Javed Bajwa in a post considered the most powerful in the country.
The nomination was ratified by President Dr Arif Alvi, whose endorsement came amid speculation that he may not sign it or delay the process as he belongs to the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) , led by former Prime Minister Imran. Khan.
Defense Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif said, “The president signed the summary (sent by the government).” Calling the presidential nod auspicious, he said: “The process of appointing the army chief had caused unrest in the country, but the matter is now settled.”
Munir takes over after Bajwa retires on November 29. Bajwa led the army for six years, twice the term usually reserved for the position.
Munir’s tenure as army chief of staff begins at a time when Pakistan is facing a crippling economy and other challenges. His appointment coincides with a dispute between the army and former prime minister Khan, who accuses the army and the United States of having played a role in his ousting in April.
Khan had removed Equip as head of the ISI when he was prime minister. Munir is currently stationed at Army HQ in Rawalpindi as Quartermaster General in charge of supply for the entire army.
Khan had accused the government of trying to pick a favourite. His supporters had alleged that three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, brother of the current prime minister, was deciding on a new army chief. The government countered that Khan was trying to take political advantage of the appointment.
Prime Minister Sharif chose Munir from a list of six generals sent by the Defense Ministry on Wednesday. He also appointed Lt. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza, the second-highest-ranking general, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC), an inter-service forum that coordinates the three armed forces.
However, both appointments were based on the approval of President Alvi. He landed in Lahore for a meeting with his party leader Khan after receiving the government’s summary of the two nominations for two top military posts.
The party said briefly that Khan and Alvi had discussed the appointment of the army chief and that everything would be done in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
The Constitution allows the president to delay the appointment of a new army chief for 25 days.
In such a scenario, the government had planned to appoint Munir as Vice Chief of Army Staff. Alvi’s approval will not have been required for this. The government has also thought of promoting the lieutenant general to the rank of full general to extend the term of the officer whose retirement is approaching. Munir’s retreat is due on November 27, two days before Bajwa’s.
The military has historically been known as the main driver of Pakistan’s domestic politics and foreign policy. Political experts said Munir’s appointment could impact Pakistan’s fragile democracy, its relations with neighboring India and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, as well as policies and engagements with China and the United States. United States.

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