ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – In a message to the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir, the former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed hope they will work to end the prevailing trust deficit between the nation and the State.
The appointment of new Army Staff came a day after the former Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa retire Tuesday, after completing a six-year tenure as head of country’s all-powerful military.
“Congratulations to Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as new CJCSC and Gen Syed Asim Munir as new COAS,” Khan wrote in a tweet.
“We hope new mly ldrship (MLY leadership) will work to end prevailing trust deficit that has built up in last 8 months between the nation and the State,” he added. “Strength of the State is derived from its people.”
Quoting Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Imran Khan said, “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people and you do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.”
Lt General Asim Munir was among the three front-runners for the post. Asim Munir was head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) when tensions between India and Pakistan escalated following the Pulwama suicide attack in February 2019 that resulted in the death of 40 CRPF personnel.
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Earlier, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will retire Tuesday, according to sources, after completing a six-year tenure as head of country’s all-powerful military.
“Under the leadership of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army demonstrated exemplary services in effectively dealing with various challenges, including the country’s exclusion from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Grey List, COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent flashfloods,” the PM office said in a statement.
“You had the honor of leading the best army in the world,” he added as quoted by the Arab News.
In an interview published in an international media outlet on Sunday, Bajwa reiterated the army’s resolve to remain apolitical and – in an apparent reference to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party – said that a campaign had been launched against the armed forces because it refused to intervene in politics.
“Despite some criticism and undue vilification of the armed forces through mass propaganda and meticulously crafted false narratives, the institutional resolve to remain apolitical will remain steadfast,” the outgoing army chief said in the interview, as Arab News reported.
“I am certain that this political quarantine of the armed forces will auger well for Pakistan in the long term by fostering political stability and strengthening the army-to-people bond.”
The army has ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 75-year history either through coups or as an invisible guiding hand in politics.