December 10, 2022

Daily News Network

President Arif Alvi approves PM Shehbaz Sharif’s nominees for COAS, CJCSC

Uncertainty surrounding key appointments in the military ended after President Arif Alvi on Thursday signed the summary and approved the appointment of Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the next chief of army staff and Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee (CJCSC).

Earlier today, speculations ended after the government announced that Lt Gen Munir was selected by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to become Pakistan’s next army chief, replacing General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed on Twitter that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, using his Constitutional right, had also named Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as CJCSC.

The decision was announced after PM Shehbaz held a federal cabinet meeting earlier today to mull over the high-profile appointments after the allied parties authorised him to pick the officers for the top slots.

PM Shehbaz’s nominee for the army chief has also been retained by the federal government under the Pakistan Army Act, according to sources, as he was about to retire later this month.

Following the PM’s decision, the summary for the new appointments was sent to the President’s Secretariat.

But uncertainty surrounding the president’s approval on the key appointments took centre stage after the head of the state departed to Lahore to hold a meeting with PTI Chairman Imran Khan on the key appointments.

All eyes were on the meeting as Imran Khan, in an interview Wednesday night, had said that he and President Alvi would play “legally and constitutionally” on the matter.

While the government had hoped that there would be no hiccups in the signing of the summary.

“All the matters have been settled in line with the Constitution of Pakistan and hopefully the president will not create a controversy,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had said. He also stated that the signing was a test for President Alvi.

After the end of the meeting, PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry had shared that President House would issue a statement on his meeting with the PTI chief. He had added that the president and Imran Khan discussed the constitutional, political and legal issues regarding the army chief’s appointment.

But as soon as President Alvi reached Islamabad he signed off the summary and approved the appointment of Lt Gen Munir and Lt Mirza as the next CJCSC. 

The govt had also developed a “Plan B” in case the president would not approve the summary. However, with the signing it seems there would be no need of the plan. 

Lt Gen Munir, who was also Pakistan’s chief spy, will take over from outgoing COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retires later this month after a six-year term.

COAS Gen Bajwa, who was appointed as the army chief in 2016, will retire on November 29. He was initially set to hang up his boots in 2019, but the PTI-led government gave him a three-year extension.

However, Lt Gen Mirza will take over the CJCSC post on November 27 as General Nadeem Raza will retire before Gen Bajwa