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Syed Asim Munir: Pakistan to nominate former spy chief as new head of military

Islamabad, Pakistan

Pakistan on Thursday named former spy chief Lt. Gen. Syed Asim Munir as chief of the South Asian nation’s military, ending weeks of hypothesis over an appointment that comes amid intense debate across the army’s affect on public life.

In a Twitter submit, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb stated Munir’s appointment could be ratified as soon as a abstract despatched by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif had been signed by the nation’s president.

Munir, a former head of the nation’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) company, will take over from Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, who will retire on November 29 after six years in what is often a three-year submit.

The Pakistani army is usually accused of meddling within the politics of a rustic that has skilled quite a few coups and been dominated by generals for prolonged durations since its formation in 1947, so the appointment of latest military chiefs is usually a extremely politicized difficulty.

Munir’s appointment might show controversial with supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted from workplace in April after shedding the backing of key political allies and the army amid accusations he had mismanaged the financial system.

Munir was faraway from his workplace on the ISI throughout Khan’s time period and the previous prime minister has beforehand claimed – with out proof – that the Pakistani army and Sharif conspired with the United States to take away him from energy. After Khan was wounded in a gun assault at a political rally in early November, he additionally accused a senior army intelligence officer – with out proof – of planning his assassination.

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Both the Pakistani army and US officers have denied Khan’s claims.

Khan is but to touch upon Munir’s appointment, although his celebration the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) stated in a tweet Thursday that he would “act according to the constitution and laws.”

Khan apart, the brand new military chief could have a lot on his plate, coming into workplace at a time when – along with a burgeoning financial disaster – Pakistan faces the aftermath of the worst floods in its historical past. He may even must navigate the nation’s notoriously rocky relationship with its neighbor India.

On Wednesday, outgoing military chief Bajwa stated the military was typically criticized regardless of being busy “in serving the nation.” He stated a significant motive for this was the military’s historic “interference” in Pakistani politics, which he referred to as “unconstitutional.”

He stated that in February this yr, the army institution had “decided to not interfere in politics” and was “adamant” in sticking to this place.

Pakistan, a nation of 220 million, has been dominated by 4 totally different army rulers and seen three army coups because it was fashioned. No prime minister has ever accomplished a full five-year time period beneath the current structure of 1973.

Uzair Younus, director of the Pakistan Initiative on the Atlantic Council, stated the army establishment “has lost so much of its reputation,” and the brand new chief had loads of battles forward.

“In historical terms an army chief needs three months to settle into his role, the new chief might not have that privilege,” Younus stated. “With ongoing political polarization there might be the temptation to intervene politically again.”

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