Thursday February 02, 2023

US media hails Gen Asim’s appointment as army chief

November 27, 2022

NEW YORK: The appointment of General Asim Munir as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has been welcomed in the American print and electronic media, saying it bodes well for the country, amid political tensions.

“When political leadership makes a choice based on merit and seniority, they not only elevate their own credibility but also help settle some structural concerns of an institution where distinction and excellence are well regarded by the rank and file,” wrote Umair Jamal, a Pakistan-based correspondent for The Diplomat, a Washington-based online international magazine.

“The appointment of Munir is an indication that the military establishment’s intent to stick to its constitutional role and open space for democratic functioning in the country will mature in the coming months and years,” he said, noting that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s decision came after weeks of intense speculation and reported infighting among political parties.

The crucial appointment offers a new opportunity for all important stakeholders in the country to bury the hatchet and move forward in Pakistan’s best interest,” Jamal said.

“The cooperation that political parties showed over Munir’s appointment is arguably the first time that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted from office in April through a vote of no-confidence, has shown a willingness to work with the current government to fulfil a constitutional duty without much drama,” Jamal said.

The Washington Post, reporting on Gen Munir’’s selection, underscored Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s statement that the appointment was “based on merit, law and according to the Constitution.”

In a report, CNN noted that the PTI congratulated Gen Munir on his appointment in a statement Thursday.

Noting that Gen Munir will inherit the position at an exceedingly challenging moment for Pakistan, The New York Times said, “The country’s economy has been teetering on the brink of collapse, with double-digit inflation pushing many basic goods out of people’s reach.

“Devastating floods have inundated much of the country’s agricultural belt.

“In neighboring Afghanistan, anti-Pakistan militants have been bolstered by the new Taliban government.

“General Munir has no known political inclination and has a reputation in the army for going by the book,” said Khalid Masood Rasool, a Lahore-based political analyst.

Munir’s crucial test would be to demonstrate action of the pledge that his predecessor made about staying neutral in politics, he said, and revive the image of the army inflicted by partisan politics and harsh social media blitz.