With the world’s fifth largest population, a nuclear-armed military, an important role in Afghanistan and a close relationship with China, Pakistan is vital to U.S. interests. Although there have been periods of turmoil, “Both countries must have a relationship and, ostensibly, share some interests,” says USIP’s Tamanna Salikuddin.

On Peace is a weekly podcast sponsored by USIP and Sirius XM POTUS Ch. 124. After a brief hiatus, On Peace is available again on a weekly basis. Each week, USIP experts tackle the latest foreign policy issues from around the world.

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Five Key Issues Facing Pakistan’s New Army Chief

Five Key Issues Facing Pakistan’s New Army Chief

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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Pakistan just underwent a major military transition. Last week, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif appointed General Asim Munir as the new chief of the country’s powerful army, succeeding Qamar Bajwa who held the position for six years. Munir is a former chief of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and before that the head of the country’s military intelligence. In nuclear-armed Pakistan with the world’s fifth largest military and a history of military rule, the army chief tends to be the most powerful leader — at times even perceived as the de facto leader due to significant influence over Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policies.

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General Asim Munir was appointed as the new head of Pakistan’s military this week — a position often viewed as the de facto leader of the country. Amid a fraught political environment, Munir’s “first job is going to be figuring out what the civil-military balance is in Pakistan,” says USIP’s Tamanna Salikuddin.

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Misinformation and conspiracy theories have become staples of mainstream politics in numerous countries around the world—democracies and autocracies alike. Pakistan is no exception. This report examines the causes of pervasive belief in misinformation in Pakistan—particularly nationalistic misinformation—and the consequences for the country’s relations with its neighbors, the risk of international or domestic conflict, and attitudes toward Pakistan’s many ethnic minority groups. The report also discusses steps that policymakers can take to counteract misinformation.

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