New Delhi: After weeks of intense speculation and rumours, Pakistan media quoting the officials said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday chose Lt Gen Asim Munir as the new chief of army staff (COAS).
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb announced on Twitter, saying the premier had chosen new Pakistan Army Chief while exercising his constitutional authority.
Marriyum further said that Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza had been picked as the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) chairman.
The joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is an inter-services forum that works for coordination among the three armed forces. The CJCSC also serves as the principal military adviser to the prime minister and the National Command authority.
Marriyam added that the same summary had been sent to the President of Pakistan.
While speaking to the media, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the matter had been decided according to the law and the Constitution, calling on the nation to refrain from viewing it through a “political lens.”
Defence Minister expressed the hope that the president would not make the appointments “controversial” and would endorse the advice of the prime minister.
It is for the first time seen in Pakistan that several voices are speaking against the hegemony role of the Pakistan army and intelligence agencies in suppressing the political democracy of the country.
Meanwhile, a tweet from Imran Khan’s PTI party said, “After the summary comes, I (Imran) and the president of Pakistan will act according to the Constitution and laws”.
Now all eyes are on the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi, whether he endorses it or sends it back.
Earlier, a complete disagreement existed between the ruling Pakistani government, the cadres of the Pakistani military and political parties, more so of former prime minister Imran Khan.
For India, the appointment of the new Pakistani army chief will be equally important as the next military strategy of Pakistan, which usually controls the political the decision of the country matters.
India has suffered at the hands of the Pakistan army and its wings, supporting violence and terrorism in Jammu, Kashmir, and other parts of India. India always remains politically sensitive to these prospects at the policy level in Pakistan as much needs to be dealt with by Pakistan's new army chief, especially issues along the Line of Control and the International Border.
India, Washington DC, Russia, Riyadh, Beijing and many other countries are observing the unfolding in Pakistan.
Profile of Lieutenant General Asim Munir
Lt-Gen Asim Munir has allegedly been a close ally of General Bajwa since he commanded troops in the Force Command Northern Areas as a brigadier under the incumbent COAS, who was, at the time, Commander X Corps.
Munir was later made DG of Military Intelligence in early 2017, and in October 2018, he became the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief. However, after eight months, he was replaced by Lt-Gen Faiz Hamid. He was posted as Gujranwala Corps commander, a position he held for two years before being moved to the GHQ as Quartermaster General.
Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza
Lt-Gen Mirza had an impressive career in the army, particularly in senior leadership positions, as he served as director-general of military operations (DGMO) and ran crucial military operations against Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militants in North Waziristan.
He was appointed Chief of General Staff (CGS), making him the second-most powerful person in the army after the COAS. In that capacity, Mirza was involved in national security and foreign affairs decision-making.
In October 2021, he was posted as Corps Commander Rawalpindi, which allowed him to acquire operational experience and become eligible to be considered for the top posts.