Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday named Lieutenant-General Asim Munir as the new chief of the country’s powerful army. Munir takes over from General Qamar Javed Bajwa who is scheduled to retire on November 29 after a three-year extension. He has ruled out seeking another extension.
The powerful army has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence. Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza had been picked as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
Here are a few things to know about Munir
- 1. He has been a close aide of Gen Bajwa ever since he commanded troops in the Force Command Northern Areas as a brigadier under the outgoing army chief, who was then Commander X Corps.
- 2. Lt Gen Munir was later appointed Military Intelligence director general in early 2017, and in October next year was made the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief.
- 3. He was prematurely removed as chief of the ISI on the request of then prime minister Imran Khan and was replaced by Lt Gen Faiz Hamid within eight months. No reason was given for his removal.
- 4. He is currently serving as the army’s quartermaster general.
- 5. He is the most senior ranking general after outgoing army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
- 6. He will be Pakistan’s 17th army chief since it declared independence from Britain in 1947. That compares with about 30 prime ministers during the same period.