Lieutenant General Asim Munir has been named as the new Pakistan Army chief to
replace incumbent General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan's information and broadcasting minister
announced on Thursday.
Munir was among those in Pakistan who oversaw the 2019 Pulwama terror
attack, according to Tilak Devasher, a member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and who
retired as Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat.
"It was under his (Lt Gen Munir's) watch that the Pulwama attack took place
and he was DG of the ISI in November and this happened in February 2019.
He also served in the areas in the core that overlooks or deals with Kashmir in
India. So, he is very familiar with this area," Devasher told ANI in an interview.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated following the suicide attack in
which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel lost their lives when
their convoy was attacked on the Jammu Srinagar highway on February 14,
Lt Gen Munir is expected to take over as Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (COAS)
from 61-year-old Bajwa, who is scheduled to retire on November 29.
On the impact of General Munir becoming the new army chief of Pakistan,
Devasher said, "No army chief of Pakistan has been friendly towards India. So,
Asim Munir is not going to break the mould. He will continue to have a
hardline stance towards India."
Devasher said, "If problems in Pakistan escalate and he has the experience. It's
quite likely, India should have to be prepared that he is going to be…and he
has this thing on Pulwama. So, we need to be very careful on this particular
India has been closely watching the development as the new Pakistani Army
chief is expected to influence the government's stance on Islamabad-New
Delhi relations as well as Pakistan's policies towards 'all-weather ally' China
and also the United States.
Pakistan has recently been taken off the watchlist of the global money
laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force
The country is also facing an extremely precarious economic situation.
According to experts, Pakistan has always resorted to terrorist attacks against
India to keep tensions alive.
"…they cannot afford to do anything against India, given the strong reaction
India has shown in the past that if you do anything we will hit you back. So, he
(Lt Gen Munir) will have to watch his steps very carefully. But, we will have to
be certainly very careful," according to Devasher, who has authored three
books on Pakistan.
Lt Gen Munir has served both as head of Military Intelligence, and as the head
of Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
He served in the position of the head of military intelligence for a period of 21
months starting 2017.
In October 2018, he became director-general of ISI but was removed from the
post by Bajwa at the instance of the then Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Notably, Khan blamed the army for playing a part in his ouster earlier this
According to Devasher, during the reign of the PML-N government in
Pakistan four or five army chiefs were appointed without following seniority in
the armed forces.
"For the first time the Sharifs have appointed the senior most in the hope that
they have made the mistake in the past of not picking the senior most. Now
they are picking the senior most, hopefully, things will be smooth. So, we will
have to wait and see if the Sharifs have better luck in the appointment of this
army chief who is the senior most than they had in the past," Devasher said.