Information Minister Marium Aurangzeb announced his appointment on Twitter, ending weeks of speculation about the powerful post.
Islamabad, Pakistan — Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appointed Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the new army chief.
Information Minister Marium Aurangzeb announced his appointment on Twitter Thursday, ending weeks of speculation about what some are calling the most powerful post in the South Asian country.Read:Backlog of ships strains Ukraine-Russia Black Sea export deal
Pakistan’s military has directly ruled the country of 220 million people for nearly half of its 75-year history.
Aurangzeb added in her tweet that Lieutenant General Saher Shamshad will assume the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Munir will replace General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who ends his six-year term as army chief on November 29.
Prime Minister Sharif held a cabinet meeting earlier in the day, where he chose Munir from a list of six candidates for the highest military post.
Munir is currently stationed at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi. He briefly served as head of the country’s premier intelligence service, the Internal Intelligence Service (ISI).
The boss agrees
President Arif Alvi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Pakistan, on Thursday night approved the nominations of Munir and Shamshad.Read:Drug kingpin bought and sold millions of pounds of cocaine across the world
Alvi belongs to the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party headed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who earlier accused the government of trying to select a favored candidate as army chief.
In an earlier tweet, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif asked if Alvi “would be interested in political advice or constitutional and legal advice”.
Now this is Imran Khan’s test if he wants to strengthen the establishment that defends the country or make it controversial. It is also a test for President Alvi,” Asif wrote.
Shortly after Information Minister Aurangzeb made the announcement on Twitter, the official in charge of Khan’s agency PTI quoted its chief as saying that he and Alvi would “act according to the constitution and the law”.
The government has accused Khan of making the appointment of the new army chief controversial for political gain.
Former defense minister and retired army officer, Asif Yassin Malik, told Al Jazeera that Munir had an “impeccable reputation” in the military.Read:Iowa: students ‘killed their Spanish teacher over bad grade’
“Your reputation in the army is of great importance and Asim Munir is highly regarded for his competence and abilities. So far, his career has been without any controversy and I think he can be a very good president,” he said, hoping that the presidential approval of the nomination would go smoothly.
Islamabad-based security analyst Muhammad Faisal said the new army chief will take over at a time when the country is going through a crisis.
“The new leader must overcome complex political, internal and external challenges, and the economic crisis is the most urgent, as even the outgoing army commander acknowledged,” he told Al Jazeera.