Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday picked Lt General Asim Munir to be the new army chief. The appointment was eagerly awaited as it was happening in the backdrop of a purported tussle between outgoing General Qamar Javed Bajwa and former premier Imran Khan.
Sharif-led Cabinet has sent the recommendation to President Arif Alvi, who will finalise his appointment.
Lt. General Munir will succeed General Bajwa, who is due to retire on November 29.
Here’s what we know about Lt Gen Munir.
Head of ISI during the Pulwama attack in India
Lt Gen Munir is the current Quarter Master General. He is said to be close to General Bajwa.
He was the head of the country’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) when the Pulwama suicide attack in February 2019 resulted in the death of 40 CRPF personnel in India.
It was during this period that tensions between India and Pakistan escalated to the point that everyone was fearing an impending conflict between the two nuclear-armed nations.
Pakistan: Lt Gen Asim Munir appointed as new Army Chief, will succeed Gen Bajwa
During this time, Munir was calling all the shots — be it shaping Pakistan’s response and security policies.
However, his stint as the ISI chief was short-lived as he was replaced by Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, considered close to the then prime minister Imran Khan.
He also has considerable expertise in dealing with matters related to India following his stints as director general of military operations during 2015-18 and chief of general staff during 2019-21.
Tiff with Imran Khan
It is said that his no-nonsense attitude and playing-by-the-book approach did not sit well with Imran Khan.
According to reports, Khan was livid when Munir brought to his attention about Bushra Bibi’s, former PM’s wife, involvement in corrupt practices.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s official account quoted its chief Imran Khan as saying, “After the summary comes, I and the president of Pakistan will act according to the Constitution and laws.”
Khan claimed that President Arif Alvi will consult him on the summary.
“I am the head of my political party and the president will definitely consult me,” he was quoted as saying by ARY news channel.
Close ties with Bajwa
Lt Gen Munir was a commander in the Force Command Northern Areas (FCNA) at the time when Bajwa was commander of the X Corps. The FCNA falls under the command of the X Corps.
His ascension to the top post is in accordance with the senior-most principle.
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