Pakistan PM Names Former ISI Chief Lt Gen Syed Asim Munir As New Army Chief

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday appointed former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) head Lt General Asim Munir as the new chief of army staff (COAS). Lt General Asim Munir will succeed outgoing army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, 61, is scheduled to retire on November 29 after getting a three-year extension. 

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza had been picked as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).

Both officers have also been promoted to four-star generals. The appointments now await President Arif Alvi’s assent.

READ | New Pakistan Army Chief: Who Is Lt Gen Asim Munir?

The Pakistan Army, which has ruled the country for more than half of its 75 years of existence, wields considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced that it had received the summary from the Ministry of Defence for the appointments of the COAS and CJCSC. The Army had sent the names of six top lieutenant generals for the appointments.

Besides Lt General Asim Munir, those in contention for the Army chief post were Lt General Sahir Shamshad Mirza (Commander 10 Corps), Lt General Azhar Abbas (Chief of General Staff), Lt General Nauman Mehmood (National Defence University Presi­dent), Lt General Faiz Hamid (Commander Baha­walpur Corps), and Lt General Mohammad Amir (Com­mander Gujranwala Corps).

Who Is Lt General Syed Asim Munir

Lt General Syed Asim Munir was promoted to the rank of a two-star general in September 2018. He entered the service through the Officers Training School programme in Mangla, and was commissioned into the Frontier Force Regiment, a report in Dawn said.

Lt General Munir is a close aide of General Bajwa and he commanded troops in the Force Command Northern Areas as a brigadier under the outgoing army chief. Bajwa was then Commander X Corps.

In 2017, Lt General Munir was appointed as director general of Military Intelligence. He was made the Inter-Services Intelligence chief in October next year.

However, his term as ISI chief was short-lived and was replaced by Lt Gen Faiz Hamid within eight months under the government of former prime minister Imran Khan.

Lt Gen Munir was the posted as Gujranwala Corps commander for two years before being moved to the General Headquarters as the quartermaster general.

(With inputs from agencies)

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