Islamabad: Pakistan prime minister Shehbaz Sharif ended weeks of speculation about who succeeds Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in a position considered the most powerful in the country.
President Arif Alvi approved the appointment despite rumours that he might not do so or might delay it because he is a member of the opposition PTI party, which is led by former prime minister Imran Khan.
Defence minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif said: “The president has signed the summary (sent by the government).” Calling the presidential nod a good omen, he said: “The process of the army chief’s appointment had caused unrest in the country, but the matter is now settled.”
A crippling economy and other issues are present in Pakistan at the start of Munir's tenure as chief of army staff. His appointment comes amid a conflict between the military and former prime minister Khan, who accuses them of aiding in his ouster in April. Imran had removed Munir as ISI chief when he was PM. Munir is currently posted at the army HQ in Rawalpindi as quartermaster general in charge of supplies for the entire military. Imran had accused the government of trying to choose a favourite.
His supporters said that the brother of the current premier and three-time prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, oversaw of choosing the next army chief. The government retorted that Imran was attempting to use the appointment for political gain. Munir was chosen by PM Sharif from a list of six senior generals that the defence ministry supplied.
He also named Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, the second senior-most general, as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee (JCSC), an inter-services forum that coordinates between the three-armed forces.