Islamabad, 29. General Asim Munir took office on Tuesday as head of the Pakistan Army, considered the most powerful position of this nuclear power, replacing Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retired after six years at the head of the Armed Forces amid accusations of political meddling.
In a ceremony organized in Rawalpindi, a neighboring city to the capital that houses the headquarters of the Armed Forces, the head of the outgoing Army, Bajwa, handed over the symbolic baton to his successor, before embracing him after the traditional professional greeting, in an unusual gesture.
“I have full faith that under his leadership, the Army will reach new heights. His appointment will prove to be positive for the country,” Bajwa said during the ceremony, which ended 44 years of military service, the last six in command of the Army.
Munir was appointed to succeed him last week by Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif after days of speculation over who would head the all-powerful Pakistan Army, which has ruled the country for half of its 75-year history.
Upon assuming his new position, Munir became the 17th head of the Armed Forces and the first to do so after previously heading the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), the country’s main spy body.
His promotion comes at a time when the army is being rejected by a broad section of Pakistani society, which has seen Bajwa’s tenure as controversial due to his tremendous influence on state politics, which goes against the constitution.
The relationship between the general and former Prime Minister Imran Khan has soured in the past year, and after Khan’s dismissal in April after he lost a vote of no confidence against him, he blamed the Army for having played a role in his downfall. of which he also accused the United States.
Thus, the majority of followers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the formation of the former president, celebrated the general’s withdrawal on social networks while sharing images of him eating cakes or distributing sweets to commemorate the moment.
Rawalpindi was precisely the place chosen by Khan to carry out a massive demonstration last Saturday to demand early elections, but which was also used by various party leaders to rebuke Bajwa and other senior military commanders.
In addition to facing scrutiny from PTI supporters, Munir begins his new era one day after the main Pakistani Taliban group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), announced the end of its ceasefire with the government. after negotiations apparently failed.
The TTP is an umbrella of several tribal armed groups created in 2007 that seeks to impose an Islamic state in Pakistan and is allied with, to which it maintains allegiance, the Afghan Taliban.
Since its formation, the group has carried out a brutal campaign of terror attacks across the country and killed thousands of people, including an assassination attempt on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012.EFE
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General Asim Munir takes over as the new head of the powerful Pakistan Army