Lt Gen Asim Munir will be new Army Chief

Asim Munir Army Chief
  • Lt Gen Asim Munir will be the new Army Chief
  • Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza picked as the new CJCSC
  • Appointment made on merit
  • Summary sent to President Alvi
  • Will act per Constitution: Imran Khan

Islamabad: After weeks of confusion, rumours, and consultation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday chose the senior-most officer of the Pakistan army, Lt General Asim Munir, as the new Army Chief.

According to a statement issued by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Lt. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza will be the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), while Lt. Gen. Syed Asim Munir will be the new Chief of the Army Staff (COAS).

She went on to say that a summary of the development had been sent President of Pakistan.

Appointments made according to the law and the Constitution

Speaking to the media after the crucial meeting of the federal cabinet, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the matter had been decided according to the law and the Constitution. He also urged the nation to refrain from viewing it through a “political lens”.

Commenting on the role of the President, Khawaja Asif hoped that President Alvi would not make the appointments “controversial” and would endorse the advice of the Prime Minister as required by the Consitution.

Asif expressed the same thoughts in a tweet in which he said that it was also a test for President Alvi whether he would follow “political advice” or “constitutional and legal advice”.

“As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, it is his duty to protect the country from political conflicts,” Asif added.

‘Will play according to Constitution’: Imran Khan

Soon after the development, former Prime Minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan said that he and President Alvi act according to the Constitution and law.

Imran Khan’s statement came in line with the claims he made on Wednesday while talking to a local TV channel.

“I am in contact with the President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, regarding [the] summary for the appointment of Chief of Army Staff (COAS),” he said on Wednesday.

“I am the head of my political party and the president will definitely consult me,” he added. However, he clarified that he did not want the army chief of his own choice but demanded that the appointment be made on merit.

Full support of coalition partners

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif enjoyed the full support of the coalition partners, who empowered the Prime Minister with full authority to make the all-important decision.

On Wednesday, the leaders of the coalition parties, including Asif Ali Zardari, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain among others attended a high-level meeting, chaired by the prime minister.

“Shehbaz Sharif sahib, you are the prime minister and the Constitution has assigned this authority and right to you,” insiders quoted Zardari as saying during the meeting.

Allies throw weight behind PM over appointment of Army Chief

“God has placed you in this position… it is your constitutional right,” said Chaudhry Shujaat.

BAP’s Khalid Magsi said that whatever the premier decides, he will firmly stand with him over the crucial appointment.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and MQM-P’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui also expressed their support for PM Shehbaz. “We have full confidence in you. This is your constitutional right. We’re thankful to you for making us part of the consultation process,” said Siddiqui.

Summary from GHQ

In the early hours of Wednesday, the General Headquarters (GHQ) confirmed that it had forwarded the summary to the federal government containing the names of the six senior-most Lt. Generals for the selection of the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

The military’s media wing — the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) — had said in a tweet: ” [The] GHQ has forwarded the summary for [the] Selection of CJCSC and COAS, containing names of 6 senior most Lt Gens to MoD [Ministry of Defence]”.

Although the statement from the ISPR had not mentioned which six names were forwarded, it had, however, mentioned that it included names of the six senior-most Lt. Generals. According to the seniority list of the Pakistan Army, Lt. Gen Asim Munir ranked as the senior-most officer, followed by Lt. Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt. Gen Azhar Abbas, Lt. Gen Nauman Mehmood, Lt. Gen Faiz Hameed, and Lt. Gen Muhammad Amir.

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