President Arif Alvi on Thursday signed the summary and approved the appointment of Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the next Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee (CJCSC).
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had sent a summary earlier in the day to President Alvi that Munir as COAS and Mirza as CJCSC, reported Geo News.
“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 November 27th, 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 November 29th, 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, reported Geo News.
Both — Gen Munir and General Mirza — met PM Shehbaz Sharif and President Arif Alvi, separately, after the confirmation of their appointment as the new chief of army staff and joint chief of staff committee, reported Geo News.
“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.
Earlier today, speculations ended after the government announced that Lt Gen Munir was selected by PM Shehbaz to become Pakistan’s next army chief, replacing General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Outgoing COAS Bajwa was due to retire on November 29, 2019, at the end of his stipulated term, but was given a three-year extension in service by then-prime minister Khan on August 19, 2019.
There had been wide speculation about whether or not General Bajwa will seek another extension. However, the COAS indicated several months ago that he plans to retire this year.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed on Twitter that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, using his Constitutional right, had also named Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as CJCSC.
But uncertainty surrounding the president’s approval on the key appointments took centre stage after the head of the state departed to Lahore to hold a meeting with PTI Chairman Imran Khan on the key appointments, reported Geo News.
All eyes were on the meeting as Imran Khan, in an interview Wednesday night, had said that he and President Alvi would play “legally and constitutionally” on the matter.
The government had also developed a “Plan B” in case the president would not approve the summary. However, with the signing it seems there would be no need of the plan, reported Geo News.
Lt Gen Munir, who was also Pakistan’s chief spy, will take over from outgoing COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retires later this month after a six-year term.
Meanwhile, Lt Gen Mirza will take over the CJCSC post on November 27 as General Nadeem Raza will retire before Gen Bajwa.
Munir was among those in Pakistan who oversaw the 2019 Pulwama terror attack, according to Tilak Devasher, a member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and who retired as Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat.
“It was under his (Lt Gen Munir’s) watch that the Pulwama attack took place and he was DG of the ISI in November and this happened in February 2019. He also served in the areas in the core that overlooks or deals with Kashmir in India. So, he is very familiar with this area” Devasher told ANI in an interview.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated following the suicide attack in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives when their convoy was attacked on the Jammu Srinagar highway on February 14, 2019.
The matter of the army chief’s appointment is crucial in the current political scenario — with Khan striving to come into power again in opposition to the ruling coalition — has been a hot affair since the tabling of the confidence motion against Khan in April.
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