President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday approved the summary sent by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the appointment of Lieutenant General Syed Asim Munir as the next army chief and Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), ending days of speculations.
The development came following the president’s meeting with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan at Zaman Park.
Footage of the president’s caravan arriving at Imran’s Lahore residence was shared on social media by the PTI amid claims that the two would discuss the party’s plan of action ahead of the appointment for the army’s top seat.
According to Express News, President Alvi also held a meeting with legal experts at the presidency and signed the summary following the meeting with Imran Khan.
The Ministry of Defence would formally issue a notification about the top military appointments.
Sources said that the new army chief and CJCSC would meet President Alvi soon.
Earlier in the day, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, taking to Twitter, said that PM Shehbaz had sent the summary to the president
“Using his constitutional powers, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has decided to appoint Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Lt Gen Syed Asim Munir as the Chief of the Army Staff.”
As per the seniority list, Lt General Asim Munir, Lt General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt General Azhar Abbas, Lt General Numan Mahmud, and Lt General Faiz Hameed were in contention for the job of chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and army chief.
‘Test for Imran’
Defence Minister Khwaja Asif also confirmed that “the advice has gone to President Alvi” indicating that the process of the new army chief’s appointment has reached its final stages.
“Now, it is a test for Imran Khan whether he wants to strengthen the institution of homeland defense or make it controversial,” the minister added.
“It is also a test for President Alvi,” he said, “whether he will follow political advice or constitutional and legal advice. As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, it is his duty to protect the country from political conflicts”.
Speaking informally with journalists outside the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Wednesday, the defence minister had hinted that the new army chief may be appointed before PM Shehbaz embarks on a trip to Turkey on November 25.
Gen Asim and Gen Sahir
Lt Gen Syed Asim Munir has diversified experience in the army. He has served as Corps Commander Gujranwala. He was also the DG ISI from October 2018 to June 2019. His short stint as head of the premier intelligence agency raised many eyebrows.
It was said at the time that then-prime minister Imran Khan was not happy with him since he was believed to have brought the alleged corruption of his wife to his notice. Imran was also thought to have been irked by Gen Asim’s resolve to go by the book.