- Gen Asim Munir is the 17th Army chief to assume command of the Pakistan Army
Outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa handed over on Tuesday the baton of command to the newly-appointed Army Chief General Asim Munir.
General Munir will be the 17th Army chief to assume the command of the Pakistan Army.
The change of command ceremony was held at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Earlier, both Gen Bajwa and Gen Munir laid a wreath at the martyrs’ monument.
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, senior serving and retired officers as well as government functionaries attended the ceremony.
The ceremony began with GHQ military band performing national songs and a medley of folk tunes.
General Bajwa was presented guard of honour for the last time as COAS during the ceremony.
The outgoing COAS said he was thankful for being given the opportunity to lead the Pakistan Army, adding that it was a “great honour” for him. He said that during his six-year tenure, the army had always responded to his call regardless of whether it concerned terrorism or natural calamities.
“I am proud of my army that despite scarce resources, they defend the country’s boundaries from the ice-capped mountains of Siachen to the deserts of Thar.”
Gen Bajwa added that he will also fade into irrelevance but "his spiritual relationship with the army will remain”.
He congratulated Gen Munir on being appointed and hoped his promotion would be a cause for the progress of the country and the army.
"I am certain that under his leadership the army will reach new heights of success.”
Last week, President Alvi had approved the nominations of General Munir as the new COAS and Lt General Sahir Shamshad Mirza's name for CJCSC.
The statement issued by the Aiwan-e-Sadr said that the promotions and appointments were made under article 243(4) (a) and (b) and Article 48(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had appointed Gen Mirza as CJCSC and Gen Munir as COAS using his constitutional authority.
The high-profile appointments coincided with accusations by former prime minister Imran Khan, who blamed the army for playing a part in his ouster.
The claims have been denied by the army that has reiterated its "apolitical" stance.
In a recent interview, Gen Bajwa was of the view that the "political quarantine" of the armed forces will augur well for Pakistan in the long term by "fostering political stability and strengthening the army-to-people bond.
During an interview with Gulf News on Sunday night, Bajwa said that the Pakistan Army has always remained a dominant player in national decision-making.
"Due to its historic role in the country’s politics, the military drew severe criticism from public and politicians alike."
However, he said "we have restricted the army’s role to its constitutional mandated task only by deciding to make it apolitical," a decision he believes will improve the army’s prestige in the long term, as well as help in "reinvigorating and strengthening" the country's democratic culture.
Lieutenant General Syed Asim Munir's profile
Gen Asim Munir is the senior-most officer after outgoing Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, and is currently serving as Quartermaster General in the Pakistan Army.
He joined the service via the Officers Training School (OTS) programme in Mangla and was commissioned into the 23rd Battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment.
He commanded troops in the Force Command Northern Areas as a brigadier under COAS Bajwa, who was then Commander X Corps. He was appointed DG of the Military Intelligence in early 2017 and then ISI Director General in October 2018.
Lt Gen Asim Munir is the recipient of the Sword of Honour from the 17th course of the Officers Training School in Mangla. Also, he is the recipient of the Hilal-i-Imtiaz.
PM Shehbaz congratulates General Asim Munir on assuming command
After assuming command of the Pakistan Army, COAS Munir held a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The premier congratulated COAS Munir on assuming the office of the Chief of the Army Staff.
In his message, the premier said becoming head of the Pakistan army is a great honour.
He said it is a blessing of the Almighty Allah that the Pakistan army has got a head of high calibre of professional capability.
The premier assured the Army Chief of his full cooperation for defence, security, and safety of the country.