HomeAsiaAsim Munir : Who is Pakistan's 17th army chief Asim Munir?

Asim Munir : Who is Pakistan’s 17th army chief Asim Munir?

Asim Munir appointed Pakistan’s General on Thursday. Asim Munir as the new chief of Pakistan Army after President Dr Arif Alvi approved the summary sent by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the appointment, ending days of speculations.

Diplomat Times (Islamabad) – He is Pakistan’s 17th army chief since it declared independence from Britain in 1947. That compares with about 30 prime ministers during the same period.

He was prematurely removed as chief of the ISI at the request of then-prime minister Imran Khan. No reason was given for his removal. He was serving as the army’s quartermaster general.

He is the most senior ranking general after outgoing army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Here are a few facts about General Asim

He was chief of the country’s two most influential intelligence agencies, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI).

There are different reactions in India too on Asim Munir becoming the Pakistan Army Chief.

The army has historically wielded huge political influence in Pakistan, ruling it for half of its 75-year history, and also oversees the country’s nuclear program. Like neighboring China and India, Pakistan has nuclear arsenals and a missile system, which is mainly aimed at India.

Lt. Gen. Syed Asim Munir replaces Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, who completes his six-year extended term on Nov. 29. Munir begins his new role amid bitter feuding between Sharif and former premier Imran Khan. Khan has publicly accused Bajwa of playing a role in his ouster, a charge the outgoing army chief has denied.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif told reporters that Munir’s nomination as the army chief was “based on merit, law and according to the constitution.” He said he hoped that Alvi would not make the key appointments “controversial” and would endorse Sharif’s decision without any delay.

“It will also help our country and the economy to get back on the right track, as right now everything is at a standstill,” he said.

Azim Chaudhry, a senior political analyst, told The Associated Press that Munir held key positions under Bajwa, including head of military intelligence. He said he hoped the new army chief would keep the military away from politics, in line with Bajwa’s policy.

Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb also said Sharif had named Lt. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee to replace Gen. Nadeem Raza, who retires this week.

About Asim Munir 

Munir joined the Pakistani military through the Mangla Officers Training School (OTS) programme, where he won the prestigious Sword of Honour, given to the best performing cadet.

He has commanded a division which 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.

“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 future.”

“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.

Munir is the son of a schoolteacher who grew up in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, according to local source.

Asim Munir is from the 17th course of the Officers Training School in Mangla. He was commissioned in the 23rd Battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment. He started his military career in 1986.