Lieutenant General Asim Munir, a former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), became the new chief of the Pakistan Army on Thursday, 24 November, after President Arif Alvi approved Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's choice.
Munir will succeed General Qamar Bajwa who is retiring this month after a six-year tenure.
Munir's nomination by the prime minister was announced by Pakistan's Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb.
"The prime minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Shehbaz 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. A summary of this has been sent to the President of Pakistan."Marriyum Aurangzeb, Pakistan's Minister of Information and Broadcasting
Munir was earlier set to retire on November 27, two days before Bajwa completes an extended tenure of almost six years. Munir was among the six generals who were in the race for the top post.
Munir was the chief of ISI when India and Pakistan almost locked horns following the Pulwama suicide bombing in February 2019.
The President Has Signed: Defence Minister
While an official handout from the president’s office was awaited, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif confirmed that Alvi has given his approval to the nomination, Dawn reported.
“The president has signed [the summary],” he said, calling it a “good omen”.
Earlier, Asif said the advice had been forwarded to the president and hoped that Alvi would endorse the Sharif's advice so that a “controversy may not arise.”
Calling on the nation to refrain from viewing it through a “political lens," Khawaja Asif told media that the matter had been decided according to the law and the Constitution.
"This will also help our country and the economy to get on track. Currently, everything is at a standstill," the defence minister said, according to Dawn.
Imran Khan Meets with President
Soon after the announcement, President Arif Alvi arrived in Lahore for a meeting with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said ALvi met Imran at the latter's residence in Lahore, where he is recuperating from injuries he sustained in the assassination attempt last month, Dawn reported.
Confirming that the two leaders met to discuss the army chief's appointment, Chaudhry said, “Between 6:30pm to 7pm, the Aiwan-i-Sadr will release a handout. Everything will be done in accordance with the law and the Constitution.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Khan had said that Alvi would “definitely” consult him as the two belong to the same political party.
“President Alvi will definitely consult me on the summary for the appointment of army chief and take a decision as per the law and Constitution. I am head of the party that Dr Alvi belongs to."Imran Khan, PTI chief
The president's approval came soon after the meeting between him and Imran Khan.
(With inputs from Dawn.)