November 30, 2022

Syed Asim Munir: Pakistan to appoint former spy chief as new head of army

3 min read

Islamabad, Pakistan

Pakistan Former intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Syed Asim Munir was named the South Asian nation’s army chief on Thursday, ending weeks of speculation over an appointment amid intense debate over the military’s influence on public life. Ended.

In a Twitter post, Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb said Munir’s appointment would be confirmed after the president signed the summary sent by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Munir, the former head of the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), will take over from him. Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwawho will retire on November 29 after six years in a normally three-year term.

Pakistan’s military is often accused of meddling in the politics of a country that has experienced multiple coups since its founding in 1947 and has long been ruled by generals, hence the appointment of a new army chief. Often a highly political issue.

Munir’s appointment may prove controversial among supporters of the former prime minister. Imran Khanwho was Evicted He left office in April after losing the support of key political allies and the military amid accusations that he had damaged the economy.

Munir was removed from his post in the ISI during Khan’s tenure and the former prime minister had previously claimed – without evidence – that the Pakistani military and Sharif had colluded with the US to remove him from power. There was a conspiracy. after the Khan was injured in a gun attack. At a political rally in early November, he also accused a senior military intelligence officer — without evidence — of plotting his assassination.

Both the Pakistani military and US officials have denied Khan’s claims.

Khan has not yet commented on Muneer’s appointment, although his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said in a tweet on Thursday that he would “act according to the constitution and laws.”

Khan aside, the new army chief will have a lot on his plate, entering office at a time when – in addition to a growing economic crisis – Pakistan is facing its fallout. The worst flood in its history. It also has to overcome the country’s notoriously rocky relationship with its neighbor India.

On Wednesday, outgoing army chief Bajwa said the army was often criticized despite being “engaged in the service of the nation”. He said a major reason for this was the military’s historical “interference” in Pakistani politics, which he described as “unconstitutional”.

He said that in February this year, the military establishment had “decided not to interfere in politics” and was “unwavering” in sticking to that stance.

Pakistan, a nation of 220 million, has been ruled by four different military rulers and experienced three military coups since its founding. Under the current 1973 constitution, no prime minister has completed a five-year term till date.

Uzair Younis, director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council, said the military establishment “has lost a lot of its credibility,” and the new chief has many battles to fight.

“Historically, an army chief needs three months to assume his role, the new chief may not have that privilege,” Yunus said. “With continued political polarization there may be a temptation for political intervention again.”

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