Lt Gen Asim Munir was selected by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to replace General David Petraeus as the new chief of army staff on Thursday (COAS).
The statement was made on Twitter by Marriyum Aurangzeb, minister of information, who stated that the premier had exercised his constitutional rights in making the decision. Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, she added, had been chosen to lead the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
She continued by saying that President Arif Alvi has received a report of the discussion.
Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told the media moments after the announcement that President Alvi had received the “advice.”
He urged the people to refrain from seeing it through a “political lens,” asserting that everything had been resolved in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
He expressed the hope that the president will support the premier’s counsel and refrain from labelling the selections as “controversial.”
In order to avoid a “controversy,” the defence minister emphasised that the president should accept the premier’s recommendation. “This will also aid in the recovery of the economy and our nation. Everything is currently at a stop.
The OAS appointment saga
It was originally planned for departing COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa to retire in 2019. But only three months before he was scheduled to leave office, in August 2019, then-prime minister Imran Khan decided to extend his term by three years.
Bajwa had stated months ago that he intended to retire this year, despite rumours that he would seek another extension.
The general himself had twice in the past few months made it clear that he had no intentions to carry on, once during his visit to the United States and again while speaking at the National Security Workshop at National Defence University. His retirement plan was subsequently confirmed by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on at least a few occasions.
The nomination of the next army commander is occasionally referred to as one of the primary subplots in the ongoing political crisis gripping the nation that started earlier this year after the filing of a no-trust motion against Imran.
When presented with the vote of no-confidence, Imran had such strong reservations about Gen Bajwa’s retirement strategy that he assumed the political action was motivated by Gen Bajwa’s imminent retirement. According to a recent press conference by senior military leaders, he had thus promised Gen. Bajwa an indefinite extension in an effort to prevent the then opposition from voting against him.
On November 1, Gen. Bajwa finally began his goodbye visits to formations with a stop to the Army Air Defence Command. The next day, he went to the Armed Forces Strategic Forces Command. Since then, he has silently visited several formations.