- Gen Asim Munir becomes 17th COAS of Pakistan.
- Gen Bajwa hands over command to Gen Asim Munir in ceremony at GHQ.
- General Bajwa presented guard of honour for last time as COAS.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday handed over the command of the Pakistan Army to his successor Gen Asim Munir in a ceremony held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
With the change of command, Gen Munir has become the 17th army chief of the Pakistan Army when Gen Bajwa handed over the baton to him.
Before handing over the command, Gen Bajwa, in his last address, congratulated his successor Gen Asim Munir for being promoted to the four star rank and as the head of the army.
“I have full faith that under his leadership army will reach new heights and his appointment will prove to be a positive for the country,” said Gen Bajwa. He added that he was happy to know that he was retiring by handing the army to an able officer like Gen Munir.
Gen Bajwa said that his journey in the army started 44 years ago and has ended today.
“I am thankful to Allah that he not only gave me an opportunity to work in the courageous and great army but also honoured me to command this army,” he said.
Appreciating the Pakistan Army, Gen Bajwa said that his prayers will always be with it in difficult times.
“I am proud that the army protects the borders from Siachen to Thar despite having limited resources,” he added.
Gen Bajwa said that the army defends regardless of language, colour, caste and religion.
“I will soon go into oblivion, but the spiritual connection will always remain with the army,” said General Bajwa.
Earlier, General Bajwa was presented guard of honour for the last time as the chief of army staff during the ceremony.
The change of command ceremony marks the time-honoured tradition that symbolises the seamless transition of military leadership.
The ceremony was attended by the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and chiefs of the armed forces. It was also attended by senior serving and retired military officers with their families.
Chief ministers, federal ministers, secretaries and foreign military officers deployed at embassies were also present at the ceremony.
Before the ceremony, Gen Bajwa visited the Yadgar-e-Shuhda for the last time as chief of army staff. Gen Munir had accompanied him during the visit.
Gen Munir was chosen to lead the country’s army by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on November 24. The summary of his appointment was approved by President Arif Alvi the same day.
PM Shehbaz calls COAS Gen Munir
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif telephoned COAS Gen Munir to congratulate him on assuming the charge. The premier said that it was a great honour for the armed forces to have a brave soldier like him as their commander-in-chief.
He assured Gen Munir that the government will continue to cooperate with him in matters related to the defence, security, and protection of the homeland.
Gen Asim Munir
Gen Munir was commissioned in the 23rd Frontier Force Regiment in 1986. He passed out with the 17th Officers Training course, Mangla and was awarded the coveted sword of honour.
Before taking charge he was posted as the quartermaster general at the General Head Quarters.
Before taking charge as COAS, Gen Munir was also posted as a directing staff in Command and Staff College, Quetta, brigade major of a deployed infantry brigade in Kel, general staff officer, grade-2, CGS secretariat and chief of staff of Mangla corps.
Gen Munir has commanded the 23rd Frontier Force Regiment, Infantry Brigade, remained as a force commander in Northern Areas, Gilgit.
The incoming army chief has also served as the director general of Military Intelligence (MI).
In 2018, Gen Munir was appointed as the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and later transferred as corps commander Gujranwala.
After heading the Gujranwala corps, he was posted as quartermaster general which was his last assignment before becoming COAS.
Gen Munir graduated from Fuji school Japan, Command and Staff College, Quetta, Malaysian Armed Forces College, Kuala Lumpur and National Defence University, Islamabad.
The general also has M Phil in Public Policy and Strategic Security Management from National Defence University.
Gen Munir has become the first army chief who has headed both — MI and ISI. He is also the first army chief awarded the Sword of Honour.
Gen Munir is a keen sportsman, avid reader, traveller and also a Hafiz e Quran.
SC to hear reference against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto death sentence next week
- Nine-member bench, headed by CJP, to hear reference.
- Last hearing of reference was held on Nov 11, 2022.
- SC to also hear IHC ex-judge Shaukat Siddiqui plea on removal.
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court is set to take up the 12-year-old presidential reference on revisiting the controversial death sentence awarded to former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto next week, The News reported Friday.
A nine-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, will hear the presidential reference on reconsideration of Bhutto’s death sentence judgment on December 12.
The decision to fix the instant case was made under Section 2(1) of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, by a three-member committee comprising CJP Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
According to Supreme Court Registrar Jazeela Aslam, the other members of the larger bench are Justice Masood, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Aminud Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Justice Musarrat Hilali.
It is pertinent to mention that former president Asif Ali Zardari, on April 2, 2011, had approached the apex court through a presidential reference under Article 186 of the Constitution to seek its opinion on revisiting the trial of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The last hearing of the reference was held on November 11, 2022.
Earlier, an 11-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had conducted five hearings in the presidential reference.
Babar Awan, the then federal law minister in the PPP regime, had earlier appeared as the federal government’s lawyer in the case and presented lengthy arguments. However, on January 17, 2012, Awan’s law practice license was suspended for criticising the court’s order in the Memogate case. Later, the case was adjourned due to a change of counsel who were appearing in the instant reference.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also fixed the petition of sacked Islamabad High Court (IHC) Judge Shaukat Siddiqui challenging his removal for misconduct on December 14.
ECP expected to announce election schedule on December 14
- ECP has published final list of delimitations.
- CEC says ECP aware of its duties regarding polls.
- Calls on public to participate in elections.
ISLAMABAD: Amid heightened political temperature in the country, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is expected to announce the schedule for much-awaited general elections on December 14, The News reported Friday.
Political parties are busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the polls which are slated to take place on February 8 next year.
The electoral body recently published the final list of delimitations clearing a major hurdle to the announcement of the polls. It is in the final phase of appointment of district returning officers, returning officers and assistant officers as per the provisions of the Elections Act, 2017.
According to Sections 50 and 51 of the Elections Act, a district returning officer is appointed for each district or a specified area and a returning officer for each constituency for elections to an assembly.
The provincial election commissioners as well as the Election Commission Secretariat have furnished lists of government officers for the election duty. Their appointment will follow the election-related training.
Separately, in a message on the occasion of National Voters Day, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said the printing and delivery of the final electoral rolls had been completed successfully. He said the ECP was fully cognisant of all its constitutional and legal responsibilities regarding elections and related matters.
CEC Raja also referred to the Election Commission’s full preparedness and commitment and assured the voters of complete security, privacy and transparency throughout the election process. The chief election commissioner called on the public to participate in the polls to shape their bright future.
The Finance Division on Tuesday released Rs17.4 billion to the ECP for poll arrangements, putting to rest election delay rumours.
Last week, the ECP also notified the final list of delimitation of constituencies of the national and four provincial assemblies, paving the way for the announcement of the election schedule.
The CEC also reiterated that elections will take place at its scheduled time and maintained that the commission will ensure complete security during the polls.
He also urged the people to use their right to vote for the “bright future of the country and nation” and cooperate with the ECP to ensure peaceful elections.
Raja also reminded the people that they have “power of vote,” asking them to cast their ballot while keeping in view the future of their children.
National Voters Day is observed each year on December 7 to create awareness among the masses about the importance of vote registration and encourage the electorates to use the power of the ballot to elect their representatives.
Zardari ropes in Balochistan electables as electioneering gears up
- Former minister Sikandar Imrani among others join PPP.
- Zardari welcomes Balochistan leaders into party’s fold.
- Development comes amid heightened political activities.
Several electables from Balochistan including former chief minister and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Abdul Qudous Bizenjo joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the run-up to the February 8 elections.
The development came in a meeting with PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in Lahore on Thursday, according to a statement issued on the party’s social media channel on Thursday.
During the meeting, former Balochistan minister Sikandar Imrani, Syed Nizamuddin, Syed Hameed, Naseer Ahmed Bizenjo and Mir Abdul Wahab Bizenjo also joined the PPP.
Zardari welcomed them into the party folds.
The development comes amid heightened political temperature in the country with political parties busy in electioneering and political wheeling and dealing to strengthen their position in the elections slated to take place on February 8, 2023.
Last month, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif succeeded in wooing at least two dozen prominent politicians from Balochistan into the party ranks.
The electables included Jam Kamal Khan, Mir Saleem Khosa, Noor Mohammad, Baba Buledi, Sardar Masood Luni, Rubaba Buledi, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, Shoaib Nosherwani, Ramin Jan Muhammad Hassni and Muhammad Khan Lehri joined the PML-N ranks.
PPP leaders Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail, Sardar Fateh Muhammad, and Faiq Jamali jumped ship to join the PML-N.
From the National Party, Mujib Mohammad Hassni and former senator Dr Ashok Kumar, while Zeenat Shahwani of BNP-M and PTI’s Muhammad Jamali and Sardar Atif Sanjrani also joined the PML-N.