ISLAMABAD: The federal government Thursday morning announced that New Army Chief Lt Gen Asim Munir will become Pakistan’s next army chief replacing General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, using his Constitutional right, has also appointed Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
The information minister added that the summary of the appointments has been sent to President Arif Alvi for ratification.
The decision was announced after PM Shehbaz held a federal cabinet meeting to mull over the appointments after the allied parties authorised him to pick the officers for the top slots.
Both the officers picked for the slots were the senior-most military officials.
Although the summary has been sent to the president, who belongs to the PTI, the coalition allies had warned him beforehand that he should avoid being loyal to his party and work in the interests of the state.
Asif hopes for no ‘controversy’
In his conversation with reporters after the meeting of the federal cabinet, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also confirmed that the summary has been sent to the president.
“All the matters have been settled in line with the Constitution of Pakistan and hopefully the president will not create a controversy,” Asif said. The minister added that he expects President Alvi to approve the premier’s advice.
He also expressed hope that the said appointments would not be viewed politically.
The minister refused to comment on PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s consultation with President Alvi over the matter. He said that he has tweeted on the matter.
He said that the Pakistan Air Force, navy, and army shouldn’t be made controversial. Asif said that a detailed press release regarding the development will be issued.
‘President and I will play’
As the news broke that the summary would be forwarded soon, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said that President Alvi was in contact with him and would consult him on the appointment of the top two slots.
“I am in contact with the president over the summary related to a key appointment,” the PTI chief told an anchor of a private TV channel. “I am in touch with him (the president). He will discuss everything with me. The prime minister goes to an absconder so I am a party head. He will absolutely discuss [the matter] with me.”
Khan stated he doubts the intention of the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. “I have no issues with whoever is made the army chief but I want that the decision should be taken on merit,” he said, adding that he has no relation with the decision because he does “not have any corruption cases to close with their help.
“The matter was very simple. There are principles of seniority. The army knows which people of its are capable, but the people who will choose and appoint them […] the big corrupt mafia […]I doubt their intentions, and not the person who will be appointed.
“We don’t know who they will appoint but the president and I have decided that we will play within the law and do whatever is in law and Constitution.”