As outgoing Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure came to an end, Pakistan Army General Asim Munir took over the command of Chief of Army Staff.
At a ceremony conducted at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, Bajwa marked the conclusion of his six-year reign as the nation’s most powerful person by handing the reins of leadership to Lt Gen Munir. General Asim Munir and General Sahir Shamshad Mirza were notified as the new chief of army staff (COAS) and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), respectively, on November 24. This put an end to the hype and commotion surrounding the choice of Pakistan’s new army leader.
Asim Munir, who was to retire on November 27, was among six generals in the race for the top post. There was a lot of uncertainty and speculations till this week.
People in Pakistan who are familiar with the situation said that Munir’s reputation as a moral military commander who followed the rules helped him secure the position.
After the PTI administration was ousted from Islamabad’s power corridors in April, former prime minister Imran Khan, his supporters, and his social media brigade engaged in unprecedented levels of panic and fury. The administration has charged Khan of stirring up controversy over the new army chief’s selection in order to advance his political ambitions.
Since the army leader’s appointment was delayed, Pakistan’s administrative and economic functions have been practically paralysed. The army chief is thought of as the most influential person, and all political players are clamoring for his approval.
Notably, Pakistan’s military has ruled about 220 million people of the country directly for nearly half of its 75-year history.
Gen Munir was promoted in September 2018 to the rank of a three-star general, but he took charge two months later.