President signs summary sent by PM; Appointment of army chief on seniority basis will lead to stability in country: Shehbaz
Sarwar Awan Islamabad
Lt-Gen Asim Munir was appointed as the new Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan while Lt-Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza has been named as the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee on Thursday.
President Dr Arif Alvi gave a nod to the summary of two top Army appointments after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif picked Lt.-Gen. Asim Munir as Army Chief and Lt-Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
“President Dr Arif Alvi has promoted Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza HI(M) to the rank of General with immediate effect and appointed him as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee with effect from 27th November 2022.
The President promoted Lieutenant General Syed Asim Munir HI(M) to the rank of General with immediate effect and appointed him as Chief of Army Staff with effect from 29th November 2022,” said a statement issued by the President’s Secretariat.
It added that the promotions and appointments have been made under article 243(4) (a) and (b) and Article 48(1) of the Constitution of the Pakistan. Both the articles are to be read with Sections 8-A and 8-D of the Pakistan Army Act 1952.
The decision was announced after PM Shehbaz held a federal cabinet meeting to mull over the high-profile appointments after the allied parties authorised him to pick the officers for the top slots.
Hours after appointing Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the new Chief of Army Staff, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the decision to appoint army chief on seniority basis will lead to stability in the country.
“My congratulations and best wishes to the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee-designate Lt. General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and Chief of the Army Staff-designate Lt. General Asim Munir on their appointment,” tweeted PM Shehbaz.
Gen Asim Munir, currently serving as quartermaster general in the Pakistan army, will likely take charge of the world’s sixth-largest defense force by troop numbers in a handover on Tuesday when Gen Bajwa retires.
“The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, has decided to appoint Lt.-Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Lt.-Gen. Asim Munir as the Chief of the Army Staff using his constitutional authority,” the information minister tweeted.
Asim Munir was the most senior general on the list of nominations sent to the prime minister by the military for the army chief’s position.
Earlier in the day, the Government had decided to appoint Lt-Gen Asim Munir as new Chief of Army Staff and Lt-Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Lt-Gen Shamshad will assume charge as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee on November 27 as General Nadeem Raza will retire before Gen Bajwa.
After receiving the appointment summary, President Alvi flew to Lahore to meet PTI chief Khan at his Zaman Park residence for a consultation on the army chief’s appointment.
Addressing a press conference, after the president’s departure, PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the head of state and Khan discussed legal, political, and constitutional aspects of COAS’s appointment.
“Meeting between Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi lasted for 45 minutes. President Alvi has left for Islamabad,” said Chaudhry.
Following the decision, the security staff of the COAS and CJCSC designate arrived at the President’s House ahead of the important meeting of the military leaders with Alvi.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb made the announcement on Twitter, saying the premier had made the choice while exercising his constitutional powers.
She further said that Lt-Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza had been picked as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
The information minister added that the summary of the appointments has been sent to President Arif Alvi for ratification.
Speaking to the media minutes after the announcement was made, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the “advice” had been forwarded to President Arif Alvi.
He said that all matters had been settled according to the law and the Constitution, calling on the nation to refrain from viewing it through a “political lens”.
He expressed the hope that the president would not make the appointment “controversial” and would endorse the advice of the premier.
Lt.-Gen. Asim Munir is from the 17th course of the Officers Training School in Mangla and was commissioned in the 23rd Battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment.
Lt-Gen Munir commanded troops in the Force Command Northern Areas as a brigadier under Gen Bajwa, who was then Commander X Corps. He was appointed DG of the Military Intelligence in early 2017 and then ISI Director General in October 2018.
Eight months later, Lt-Gen Munir was posted Gujranwala Corps Commander. He was moved to the GHQ as Quartermaster General two years later.
Lt-Gen Munir is the recipient of the Sword of Honour from the 17th course of the Officers Training School in Mangla. Also, he is the recipient of the Hilal-i-Imtiaz.
He is a ‘Hafiz-e-Quran’ who memorised the Quran during his posting in Saudi Arabia as Lt-Colonel.