Pakistan's outgoing Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa (right), hands over a ceremonial baton to his successor Gen. Asim Munir during the Change of Command ceremony, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Tuesday. AP
One of the key challenges faced by the country's new army chief, Gen. Asim Munir, will be how to respond to the latest threat from the Pakistani Taliban, known as TTP, which has ordered its fighters to resume attacks across the country.
The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but are allies of the Afghanistan Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan more than a year ago as the US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan emboldened TTP, whose top leaders and fighters are hiding in Afghanistan.
Munir, who is a former spymaster, replaced Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, who has retired from the post after a six-year term. Bajwa, during his tenure, had approved a series of operations against the militants to evict them from the country's former northwestern tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
Bajwa also opened peace talks with TTP earlier this year.
The Pakistani Taliban had agreed to an indefinite cease-fire in May after talks with Pakistan's government and military officials in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.
The TTP in a statement Monday ended the ceasefire, vowing new attacks.
The plane crashed into a village near an upscale neighbourhood in the garrison city that is home to the army’s headquarters, creating a fireball that lit up the night sky and terrified residents.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed on Twitter that the Pakistan army has agreed in a rare move to slash the defence budget for the next fiscal year in line with broader austerity measures being introduced by the government.
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On both sides of the border, residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside on a cold, rainy and snowy winter night, as buildings were flattened and strong aftershocks continued.
It said the targets of the raid were suspected of an attempted attack on a restaurant in the Israeli settlement of Vered Yeriho on Jan. 28. The Palestinian health ministry said three people had been wounded, one critically but it gave no details on any dead.
Under Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam or its figures can be sentenced to death, although the country has yet to carry out capital punishment for blasphemy.