Lieutenant General Asim Munir has been selected as Pakistan’s next army head by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Marriyum Aurangzeb, the information minister, confirmed the appointment on Twitter on Thursday, putting an end to weeks of speculation over what some call the most powerful job in the South Asian nation. For nearly half of Pakistan’s 75-year existence, the military has directly administered the country of 220 million people. After a three-year extension, Gen. Bajwa, 61, is set to retire on November 29. He has decided not to seek another extension.
Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad will take over as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, according to Aurangzeb’s tweet. Munir will succeed General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who will step down as army chief on November 29 after a six-year stint. PM Sharif convened a cabinet meeting early Thursday and chose Munir from a list of six contenders for the highest military position. Munir is now assigned to the army headquarters in Rawalpindi. He has previously worked as the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency’s (ISI) chief of staff (ISI).
Now the big question is will the President of Pakistan approve the appointment or not?
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif stated that the two names have been given to President Arif Alvi, who is also the supreme commander of Pakistan’s armed forces, for approval. President Alvi is a member of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which is led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has accused the government of attempting to appoint a favourite as army commander.