ISLAMABAD: Army chief General Syed Asim Munir left today, Sunday, for the United States (US) on his first official visit to the country, where he is expected to meet senior American and military officials, Pakistan Army’s media wing said.
Munir was appointed army chief in November 2022, following which he has undertaken official visits to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and various other countries. The army chief is arguably the most influential person in Pakistan, with the military having ruled the country for about half of its 75-year history since independence from Britain and enjoying extensive powers even under civilian administrations.
Washington has worked closely with Pakistan’s army chiefs over the years alongside civilian governments in the South Asian country, on issues ranging from regional stability to fighting militancy, and Afghanistan.
“General Syed Asim Munir, NI (M), Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has left today for United States of America (USA) on an official visit,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.
“During his visit, General Syed Asim Munir is scheduled to meet the senior military and other government officials of USA.”
Ties between Washington and Islamabad were strained during former prime minister Imran Khan’s tenure. Washington suspected Islamabad allowed Taliban militants to seek refuge in Pakistan.
The relationship between the two countries further soured when Khan claimed Washington had backed a parliamentary move to oust him from office.
The US, Pakistan’s military, and Khan’s political rivals, all denied the allegations. Following Khan’s ouster from office, Islamabad’s relationship with Washington improved following overtures from Pakistan.
Munir’s predecessor, General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, was the last Pakistani army chief to visit the US when he undertook a visit to Washington in October 2022. During his trip, Bajwa met US Defense Secretary General Lloyd James Austin III (retired), National Security Adviser Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan, and former deputy secretary of state Wendy Ruth Sherman.
Source : Arab News