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Pakistan appoints Asim Munir as new army chief

AT

Kabul: Lieutenant General Asim Munir was on Thursday appointed as the new chief of army staff (COAS) of Pakistan, ending weeks of intense speculation and political tussle in the country. “The Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad 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 using the constitutional authority,” Pakistan Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb tweeted.

Pakistan’s military has directly ruled the country of 220 million people for nearly half of its 75-year history.

Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad will take charge as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Aurangzeb added in her tweet.

Munir will replace General Qamar Javed Bajwa who will end his six-year tenure as army chief on November 29.

PM Sharif held a cabinet meeting earlier on Thursday where he selected Munir from a list of six nominees for the top military post.

Munir is currently posted at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi. He has served briefly as chief of the country’s premier intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Alvi belongs to the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, headed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who earlier accused the government of trying to pick a favourite as the army chief.

In a tweet, defence minister Asif wondered if Alvi “will pay heed to political advice or to the constitutional and legal advice”.

“Now this is Imran Khan’s test if he wants to strengthen the institution which defends the country or make it controversial. It is also a test for President Alvi,” Asif wrote.

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