General Qamar Javed Bajwa to hand over ‘baton of command’ to General Asim Munir tomorrow

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Asim Munir Army Chief

Rawalpindi: After six years of service, the outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa, will hand over the “baton of command” to his successor, General Asim Munir, on Tuesday.

General Asim Munir will be Pakistan’s 17th Army Chief, taking over from General Bajwa, who is set to retire on November 29. General Bajwa was chosen for the top position by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2016 and was later granted an extension by Imran Khan in 2019.

The “change of command” ceremony of the Pakistan Army will be held tomorrow (Tuesday) at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, marking the time-honoured tradition that symbolizes the seamless continuation of military leadership.

Gen Asim Munir will be the new Army Chief

After weeks of confusion over the appointment of the next army chief, the dust finally settled down last week, and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chose General Asim Munir, who was the senior-most Lt. General on the summary for the appointment, to succeed incumbent COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The summary of General Asim Munir’s appointment was ratified by President Arif Alvi on the same day.

Who is General Asim Munir, PM Shehabz’s choice for army chief?

The summary forwarded by the GHQ to the federal government for the appointment of the next COAS had six names. Of the six potential candidates, General Asim was the senior-most officer.

Gen Asim Munir will be the new Army Chief

Gen Asim Munir joined the Pakistan Army from the Mangala Officers Training School program. He then became a commissioned officer in the Frontier Force Regiment.

He also commanded the Northern Areas Force as a brigadier. In 2017, was appointed the Director-General of Military Intelligence. In 2018, he was chosen as the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

General Asim Munir remained a close aide of General Bajwa ever since he commanded troops in the Force Command Northern Areas as a brigadier under the outgoing army chief, who was then Commander X Corps.

In September 2018, he was elevated to the rank of a three-star general, but he took charge two months later. Because of that, his four-year tenure as Lt. Gen ends on November 27. However, the federal government has also decided to retain him in his position.

It is pertinent to mention that Gen Munir will also be the first army chief who has been awarded the Sword of Honour.