Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif names Asim Munir as new COAS
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chose Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the country's new chief of the army staff (COAS) on Thursday, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb stated on Twitter. Munir is set to succeed General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who will be retiring later this month. Sharif also appointed Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
Why does this story matter?
In crisis-torn Pakistan, which saw a major political upheaval following a no-confidence motion against former PM Imran Khan earlier this year, the COAS plays a crucial role. Notably, during his tenure, Khan reportedly offered General Bajwa, his favorite, an unlimited extension when the opposition parties were preparing to oust him. Meanwhile, Sharif's pick Munir's appointment is yet to be confirmed by President Arif Alvi.
Sharif took decision using constitutional authority: Information minister
Aurangzeb stated that PM Sharif took the decision on Munir and Mirza's appointments, exercising his constitutional authority. However, she stated the appointments are currently awaiting the president's approval. Notably, the COAS is an influential position in Pakistan, while the JCSC is its main inter-services forum for the coordination of the three armed forces. The CJCSC also acts as the prime minister's principal military adviser.
Information Minister Aurangzeb's official announcement in Urdu
Pakistan defense minister seeks president's support
Speaking to reporters, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif called on the country to refrain from seeing the Munir and Mirza's appointments by the Sharif government through a "political lens," Dawn reported. He said the decisions were taken according to the law and the Constitution. Asif also expressed the hope that President Alvi wouldn't label the selections as "controversial" and would support the PM's decision.
'Will act as per Constitution and laws: PTI reacts
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has stated the party would take the required "decision" over the COAS appointment in consultation with the president. "When the summary comes, I and the president of Pakistan will act according to the Constitution and laws (sic)," Khan said, per Dawn. His comment came a day after he indicated Alvi would definitely consult him about the army chief appointment.
What is COAS Bajwa controversy?
General Bajwa, the outgoing COAS, was set to retire in 2019. Khan, however, extended his tenure indefinitely only three months before he was due to step down. Despite rumors that he will seek another extension, Bajwa has stated that he intends to retire this year.Share this timeline