On the November 24th 2022, Pakistani PM Shahbaz Sharif appointed Lt General Asim Munir as the new Army Chief of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He is the 17th Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistani Army. The previous Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa has been removed from power shortly after the fall of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2022.He assumed charge as the country’s new Army chief, replacing Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa who retired after two consecutive three-year terms.
Although Pakistan is currently not facing any traditional security threats such as external/foreign aggression, Munir will be kept occupied by a plethora of multiple internal challenges and threats within the border of the Pakistani Territory. The first challenge that awaits Munir is the political vacuum left behind by Imran Khan and Qamar Javed Bajwa and the sorry state of the economic situation of Pakistan which is currently in tatters.
The second challenge that Gen Munir faces is border skirmishes with Taliban-ruled Afghanistan who refuse to recognize the Durand Line that was used by the cunning British to divide the Pashtun community. Cross-border firings have become the order of the day with the Taliban regime not interested in following the advice of Rawalpindi on national interest matters.
The third challenge that Gen Munir will face is to keep 40-odd terrorist groups under control in Pakistan with TTP, (Tehreek-I Taliban), Balochistan Liberation Army and the Sindh groups growing in capacity to stand up to Islamabad.
Even though Pakistan is being pushed by China to further expand the Belt Road Initiative, the Baloch and Sindh groups will act as major spoilers as they have started targeting the Chinese nationals out to exploit their region’s natural resources.
The fourth challenge that Gen Munir will face is restoring the credibility of the Pakistan Army, which has been attacked by their once-upon-a-time political personality, Imran Niazi. The leaking of humongous financial assets of outgoing chief Gen Bajwa was part of PTI’s plan to demolish the holy image of the Pakistan Army and its Corps Commanders. The last challenge faced by Munir will be the humongous task of mending ties, destroyed by Imran Niazi through his cypher caper, with the Pentagon and the Biden Administration.
Although Munir has been an old ISI chief with considerable experience in handling matters with regard to India, the Indian Nation is resilient and capable enough to ward off any sort of covert and sinister offensive operations from Pakistan and even from its iron brother China. India is quite capable of handling any Pakistan Army action on the LoC or its western borders.
Pakistan is a coup-prone country, where the military wields considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy. He is the first Army chief who has headed both powerful intelligence agencies – the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI). His stint as the spy chief at the ISI was the shortest ever as he was replaced by Lt Gen Faiz Hamid within eight months on the insistence of then-Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2019.