Pak Army Chief’s record – and why it’s so relevant to India

Pak Army Chief’s record – and why it’s so relevant to India

Aseem Munir will replace General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retires at the end of this month after a tenure of six years.

Karachi:

Pakistan named Lieutenant-General Asim Munir as chief of the country’s nuclear-armed forces, the most powerful institution in the country that rarely shies away from its next crisis.

The appointment could have significant bearing on the future of Pakistan’s fragile democracy, and whether improved relations with India allow:

role of army in pakistan

During the 75 years since independence and the formation of Pakistan from the partition of India, the military seized power three times and directly ruled the Islamic republic for more than three decades, fighting three wars with India along the way. fought.

Even when a civilian government is in power, Pakistan’s generals still have a major influence on security matters and foreign affairs.

Who is Asim Munir

Munir will replace General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retires at the end of this month after a tenure of six years.

Munir also served in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Saudi Arabia, a major financial backer of Pakistan.

He later headed Pakistan’s two most influential intelligence agencies – the Military Intelligence (MI) in 2017 and then the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 2018. He was removed as ISI chief after just eight months at the request of the then Prime Minister Imran Khan. , No reason was given for his removal.

Munir is currently serving as the Quartermaster General of the Army in charge of supplies.

Why it matters globally

Pakistan’s army chief will play a key role in managing the risks of conflict with nuclear-armed rival India along its eastern border, as well as dealing with potential instability and friction with Afghanistan.

Several world capitals, including Washington and Beijing, have direct ties to Pakistan’s military, given the country’s strategic position in a volatile neighborhood and a coastline close to major shipping lanes serving the oil-rich Gulf.

Foreign governments have periodically questioned the safety of a nuclear arsenal, including long-range missiles, in a country that has frequently needed IMF bailouts and where anti-Western and anti-India terrorist groups have proliferated. Huh.

And internal security has been a persistent problem due to insurgency in the ethnic Pashtun and Baloch regions.

Despite all the risks, Pakistan and its military have dismissed concerns from foreigners over the command and control and security of its nuclear weapons.

Why is this appointment important domestically?

The military has long been accused of manipulating the democratic process to maintain its dominance. Nineteen of Pakistan’s 30 prime ministers were elected, but none of them completed their five-year term.

After recently admitting its interference in politics, the army has said it will no longer interfere. Whether the new premier lives up to that commitment could be the key to Pakistan’s democratic development.

Pakistan is in the midst of another period of political uncertainty as Khan has led a nationwide protest in an attempt to force Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to call early elections.

The incoming army chief could potentially play a key role in lowering political temperatures as Pakistan seeks to avoid an economic crisis and recover from historic floods.

Bajwa’s legacy

Bajwa sought to balance relations with China and the United States. While Islamabad moved closer to Beijing, Bajwa also worked to thaw ties with Washington, with which he worked closely during the evacuation of Kabul in 2021 when Western forces pulled out of Afghanistan.

Bajwa also took an active interest in economic matters, and could tell how much of the budget went to the military.

He made highly publicized trips to Beijing and the Middle East – which helped Pakistan gain financial aid. He also lobbied Washington to help broker a deal with the International Monetary Fund.

He even called Pakistan’s top industrialists to a meeting at the army headquarters to encourage them to pay more taxes.

During his tenure, India and Pakistan fought air skirmishes in 2019, but he was a public supporter of better relations and avoided escalating tensions when tensions ran high, such as when an Indian missile accidentally crashed into Pakistan’s territory this year .

In early 2021, Bajwa approved the reinstatement of a ceasefire agreement with Delhi in Kashmir.

Domestically, he was accused of political interference. Politicians said he helped former cricketer Imran Khan become prime minister in 2018. Earlier this year, Khan accused Bajwa of playing a role in his downfall.

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