Saturday January 28, 2023

General Asim Munir assumes command of Pakistan Army

General Syed Asim Munir assumed the command of Pakistan Army as the 17th Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) at an impressive change of command ceremony in Rawalpindi on Tuesday

By Muhammad Anis & News Desk
November 30, 2022
General Syed Asim Munir. ISPR
General Syed Asim Munir. ISPR 

RAWALPINDI: General Syed Asim Munir Ahmed Shah assumed the command of Pakistan Army as the 17th Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) at an impressive change of command ceremony in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

The outgoing army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa handed over the baton of command to General Asim Munir and relinquished the command of Pakistan Army after six years. Following an exchange of salutes, General Bajwa embraced his successor and congratulated him over assuming the Pakistan Army’s command.

In his farewell address, General Qamar Javed Bajwa felicitated Asim Munir’s elevation to the seat of army chief and expressed confidence that his promotion will prove to be highly positive both for the country and Pakistan Army.

He was confident that under the leadership of General Asim Munir, Pakistan Army will reach new heights and further serve and defend the country, saying that he was happy to know that he was retiring after handing over the command of the army to an able officer like General Asim Munir.

“General Asim Munir is a Hafiz-e-Quran, a professional and capable officer and a man of principle and an able officer,” he said.

General Bajwa said that troops of Pakistan Army offered Labaik to his voice and gave their blood whether it came to serving at the Line of Control (LoC) or performing duties during the natural calamities. “I hope that Pakistan Army under the leadership of General Asim Munir will serve the country more than that,” he said.

He noted with pleasure that Pakistan Army serves the nation and country while remaining above of language, religion and ethnic differences.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa said he was honored to have served this great Army, pointing out that during his six-year tenure as the army chief, the Pakistan Army tackled challenges, be it the situation on the Line of Control, terrorism or natural calamities.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa said he was proud of Pakistan Army that despite of limited resources was fulfilling the responsibility of defending each nook and corner of the country.

He said Pakistan today is an abode of peace because of the sacrifices, which are also acknowledged both by our foe and friends. “I am retiring today and will go into oblivion but will remain spiritually associated with the institution,” he said.

The ceremony was attended amongst others by federal cabinet members, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar Sidhu, high ranking civil and military officials and foreign delegates.

Former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General (retd) Zubair Mahmood Hayat, former army chiefs General (retd) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and General (retd) Raheel Sharif were also prominent among the guests.

Earlier, General Qamar Javed Bajwa and General Asim Munir laid a floral wreath at the martyrs monument. A smartly turned-out contingent of Pakistan Army, drawn from Baloch Regiment and Azad Kashmir Regiment, presented a salute and a guard honour on the occasion.

Before appointment as the army chief, General Asim Munir was serving as the Quartermaster General at the General Headquarters. He also served as Corps Commander, Gujranwala, and headed both the ISI and Military Intelligence and also commanded the Force Command Northern Areas.

General Asim Munir was commissioned in 23 Frontier Force Regiment of Pakistan Army in 1986 from Officers Training School, Mangla, and is the first army chief who is the recipient of the sword of honour. He was awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz in March 2018.

He got his M.Phil degree in Public Policy and Strategy Security Management from the National Defence University (NDU).He is a graduate of Fuji School, Japan, Command and Staff College, Quetta, Malaysian Armed Forces College and NDU, Islamabad.

Later in the day, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif telephoned Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Munir and congratulated him on assumption of his responsibilities as the country’s new army chief.

The prime minister said commanding the excellent force of Pakistan Army was a great honour and expressed the confidence that General Asim Munir would further contribute to strengthening the defence of the country.

He wished General Munir success in effectively dealing with the challenges pertaining to security and counter terrorism. He assured the new army chief full cooperation of his government in areas relating to defence and security.

General Asim Munir, who was handed over the baton of command by his predecessor General Qamar Javed Bajwa Tuesday morning, thanked PM Sharif for his wishes and the words of felicitations.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Interior Minister Rana Ullah said on Tuesday the command of the army changed in a pleasant atmosphere. The PTI tried but failed to make it controversial, they said.

During an informal conversation with journalists, Khawaja Asif said the command changed in a pleasant atmosphere and the issues of the state will be tackled in a better way now. Rana Sanaullah said the new COAS is a man of profession and best skills. “We hope that the army will achieve its goals,” he said while congratulating General Asim Munir.

It may be noted that senior PTI leader, former defence minister Pervez Khattak, and former Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser attended the ceremony. President of AJK Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudry and Chief Minister Gilgit Batistan Khalid Khursheed were also present. Besides, former minister Faisal Vawda also attended the ceremony.