ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi Thursday signed the summary and approved the appointment of Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the next chief of army staff.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appointed Lt Gen Mirza as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and Lt Gen Munir as the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) using his constitutional authority.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb announced the appointments on Twitter while adding that a summary on these appointments has been sent to the president.
Later, talking to media, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the matter had been decided according to the law and the Constitution. He also urged people to not associate the appointments with politics. He further expressed hope that the president would not make the appointments “controversial” and would endorse the advice of the premier.
The defence minister reiterated that the president should endorse the prime minister’s advice so that a “controversy may not arise”. “This will also help our country and the economy to get on track. Currently, everything is at a standstill.”
In a tweet, he said that the advice had been forwarded to the president. He went on to say that it would now be a test for former prime minister Imran Khan where he could either strengthen the institution responsible for defending the country or make it controversial.
“This is also a test for President Alvi, whether he will follow political advice or the constitutional and legal advice,” he said. He said President Alvi, is Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and it is his duty to protect the country from political conflicts.
Lt Gen Mirza is from 76th Long Course, hails from the Sindh Regiment — the same parent unit as outgoing Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Nadeem Raza.
Lt Gen Mirza served as director general military operations during the last two years of retired Gen Raheel Sharif’s tenure. In that role, he was part of Gen Sharif’s core team at the GHQ, which supervised the military operation against the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and other militants in North Waziristan.
Moreover, Lt Gen Mirza was closely involved in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group that brokered intra-Afghan talks involving Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, and the United States. He was also a member of the Sartaj Aziz-led committee on reforms for Gilgit-Baltistan.
After his promotion to the three-star rank, he was appointed chief of general staff, effectively making him the second-most powerful person in the army after the chief of army staff.
In that role, he was closely engaged in crucial decision-making related to national security and foreign affairs. He also joined former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in strategic talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2021.
In October 2021, he was posted as corps commander Rawalpindi to enable him to acquire operational experience and become eligible to be considered for top posts.
Lt Gen Munir was promoted to the rank of a three-star general in September 2018, but he took charge two months later. The four-year tenure as Lt Gen ends on November 27, around the same time when incumbent Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Nadeem Raza and Chief of Army Staff Gen Bajwa will be retiring.
Lt Gen Munir entered the service via the Officers Training School (OTS) programme in Mangla, and was commissioned into the Frontier Force Regiment. He was from 17th OTS.
He has been a close aide of Gen Bajwa ever since he commanded troops in the Force Command Northern Areas as a brigadier under the outgoing army chief, who was then Commander X Corps.
Lt Gen Munir was later appointed Military Intelligence director general in early 2017, and in October next year was made the Inter-Services Intelligence chief.
He was replaced by Lt Gen Faiz Hameed within eight months. He was then posted as Gujranwala Corps commander, before he was moved to the General Headquarters (GHQ) as the quartermaster general.
According to the sources in the Defence Ministry, the Prime Minister promoted Lt Gen Asim Munir as 4-star general with effect from 25 November and appointed COAS with effect from 30 November. They said that with his appointment as a 4-star general, the service of Lt Gen Munir has increased by three more years.
However, the military media wing, ISPR, did not respond to the queries regarding appointment challenges and change of command ceremony.