At a ceremony on Tuesday at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, General Asim Munir assumed the position of COAS.
Gen. Munir became the country’s 17th army chief when General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the COAS who was retiring, handed over the commanding officer’s baton.
Last week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chose Gen. Munir to replace Gen. Bajwa, putting an end to days of speculation about the appointment.Gen. Munir will be the 17th army chief to take over command of the Pakistan Army, according to Radio Pakistan.
Gen. Bajwa and Gen. Munir presented fateha and laid a wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada (Monument to Martyrs) in GHQ prior to the ceremony.
The GHQ military band kicked off the ceremony, which started shortly after 10 a.m., with a mix of folk and national songs.
General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, senior serving and retired officers, diplomats, and government officials were present.
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“Gen Munir professional, capable officer”
The outgoing COAS addressed the ceremony to hand over the command baton and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead the Pakistan Army.
Gen. Bajwa expressed his delight at Gen. Munir’s appointment as his successor and hoped that the army and the nation would benefit from his promotion.He continued by stating that he has been associated with Gen. Munir for 24 years.
“He is not only a Hafiz-i-Quran, but also a competent, professional, and principled officer.I am certain that the army will achieve new heights of success under his direction.
Gen. Bajwa hoped that Gen. Munir’s appointment as military chief would be beneficial to the army and the nation.He stated that he would delegate command of the army to an “expert and capable son.”
Gen. Bajwa said, reminiscing about his military journey, that it was coming to an end after several decades.
He reaffirmed that it was a “great honor” for him, saying, “I am thankful to God that he gave me the opportunity to work for this great army and gave me the opportunity to lead it.”
He said that during his six years in office, the army had always responded to his calls, no matter if they were about natural disasters or terrorism in different parts of the country.
“And they gave me blood when I asked for sweat.”
According to Gen. Bajwa, both friends and foes of the country acknowledged the army’s sacrifices.I’m proud of my army because, despite having few resources, they protect the country’s borders from Siachen’s ice-capped mountains to Thar’s deserts.
Gen. Bajwa also cited a quote from Douglas MacArthur, the commander of the American military:Old soldiers don’t die; rather, they just vanish.”
He concluded his speech with prayers for the success of the new army chief and the Pakistani army, saying, “I will also into fade into irrelevance but my spiritual relationship with the army will remain.”
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Who is General Asim Munir?
Although Gen. Munir is an outstanding officer, it was previously thought that he might remain the “dark horse” in the race for the army chief’s position due to the technicalities involved.
Gen. Munir’s November 27 retirement date presented a technical obstacle to his appointment to the position at the time of his nomination.In a departure from the norm, he was promoted to the rank of four-star general immediately following his appointment as army chief to counter this.
In September 2018, Gen. Munir was given the rank of three-star general, but he only took over two months later.Through the Officers Training School program in Mangla, he joined the military and was commissioned into the Frontier Force Regiment.
Since he was a brigadier in the Force Command Northern Areas under the current army chief, who was then Commander X Corps, he has been a close aide to Gen. Bajwa.
Later, at the beginning of 2017, Lt. Gen. Munir was made director general of Military Intelligence, and in October of that same year, he was made chief of Inter-Services Intelligence.
However, he was replaced by Lt. Gen. Faiz Hamid within eight months at the insistence of the then-PM Imran Khan, making his tenure as the top intelligence officer the shortest ever.
He was assigned to be the commander of the Gujranwala Corps, a position he held for two years before being promoted to the position of quartermaster general at the General Headquarters.