Who is Asim Munir, Pakistan’s new army chief?
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has nominated
Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the new army chief, putting an end to days of uncertainty that engulfed the nation
Asim Munir is from the 17th course of the Officers Training School in Mangla.
MUNIR was commissioned in the 23rd Battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment.
started his military career in 1986. promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General in
September 2018 and was subsequently appointed as DG ISI.
previously served as Director General of Military Intelligence.
He was awarded
the Hilal-i-Imtiaz in March 2018. He had earlier served as the commander of the Troops deployed in the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
General Asim Munir Ahmed HI(M) is a four-star rank general and awaiting Chief of
Army Staff as the government announced and currently serving as a Quartermaster general in the Pakistan Army.
He commanded the XXX Corps (Pakistan) in Gujranwala from 17 June 2019 to 6 October 2021.
He served as the 23rd Director-General of the ISI until he was replaced with Lt. Gen.
Faiz Hameed on 16 June 2019.
He is also a holder of the Sword of Honour.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif announced him as the 11th Chief of Army Staff
on 24 November 2022 for the term of 3 years.
takes charge of the 600,000-strong nuclear-armed army on November 29 when incumbent General Qamar Javed Bajwa retires after a six-year stint.
Sword of Honour winner
Munir joined the Pakistani military through the Mangla Officers Training School (OTS) program,
where he won the prestigious Sword of Honour, given to the best-performing cadet.
He has commanded a division that overlooks Pakistan’s northern areas,
including the disputed region of Kashmir, where he worked in tandem with Bajwa,
who then headed the Pakistan army’s elite X Corps.
Munir, who currently serves as the quartermaster general at the army headquarters in
after the army’s internal affairs.
However, his eight-month stint as the head of ISI remains one of the shortest in the army’s history.
after both reportedly fell out, PTI [Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party] believes,
, thus, feared that Khan through President Alvi would attempt to jeopardize
the process and make the selection of Munir controversial before it could actually take effect,” he said. Alvi is a founding member of the PTI.
A military source told Al Jazeera that Munir has a “clear line of thinking” and is considered apolitical in his approach.
“He is a rare officer in the sense that he has led both the MI and the ISI.
He is the first army chief who has headed both the intelligence agencies,” the source said.
“The MI experience will help him look at the army’s internal dynamics, while the ISI experience will serve him well for a global outlook in the future.”
Singapore-based Pakistan analyst Abdul Basit said contrary to the reservations of Khan’s PTI party,
Munir is a professional soldier who will keep the institution away from politics.
“It is a fact that the military wants to leave politics but will the politics leave the
military is a question to ponder over,” he told Al Jazeera.
Munir has previously served in Saudi Arabia, one of Pakistan’s key allies, Basit added.
“Being a familiar face in Riyadh could well be one of the factors that may have influenced his appointment for the top job,” he said.
Proved himself worthy
Retired army official Muhammed Zeeshan said Munir was his senior in the military
and has served on prominent operational and instructional appointments.
Zeeshan, currently the director general of the Centre for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies think-tank in Islamabad,
said Munir’s career postings show he was groomed for senior positions throughout his career.
“Based on his postings and the results of his courses, it is pretty evident that he proved
himself worthy of where he is today,” he told Al Jazeera.
Zeeshan said Munir served as MI head when Bajwa was the army chief and performed well.
As the head of ISI
however, he was a bit unfortunate to be caught in an evolving political environment.
But the fact that he departed in such a graceful manner when asked to leave speaks volumes about his maturity,” Zeeshan said.
On the challenges ahead for Munir, the retired brigadier said these are difficult times in the country.