ISLAMABAD: As expected recently,in a bid to push the diplomatic discourse, Pakistan made massive changes on Monday appointing ambassadors and diplomats to 18 stations, including India, China, Japan, Belgium, Malaysia, etc.
The appointments have been finalised after approval by Prime Minister Imran Khan following a detailed meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at PM’s Office. Five women and two ex-generals were among nominees while most important changes made in New Delhi and Beijing assignments.
According to the decisions taken on Monday, Moeenul Haq (presently ambassador in France) would be the new ambassador in New Delhi as Ambassador Sohail Mahmood has been elevated as foreign secretary. Earlier, Foreign Ministry sources had indicated that Muazzam Khan currently serving as ambassador in Abu Dhabi would be assigned in New Delhi but now he has been posted as special secretary at the Foreign Office headquarters.
Likewise, the sources were confident that Tehmina Janjua would be appointed as an ambassador in Beijing on contract basis and it was almost decided during a meeting of her with Imran Khan after her retirement as Foreign Secretary but now senior diplomat Naghmana Hashmi (presently ambassador to Brussels) has been appointed an ambassador in Beijing, replacing Masood Khalid who has completed his stint.
Additional Secretary Imtiaz Ahmed has been appointed as the ambassador in Tokyo, Japan while Zaheer Janjua has been posted as the ambassador in Brussels under a plan to enhance bilateral relations with the European Union (EU).
Additional Secretary Amna Baloch has been posted in Malaysia while Javed Khattak would be the new ambassador in Portugal. Saqlain Syeda would be the new ambassador in Kenya while Rukhsana Afzal has been posted as the ambassador in Singapore. Khalid Jamali would be the new ambassador in the Czech Republic and Ataul Munim Shahid would be the ambassador in Algeria.
Sarfraz Ahmed would be the ambassador in Sudan and Imran Haider would be the new ambassador in Tajikistan. Major General (r) Abdul Aziz Tariq would be the ambassador in Brunei while Major General (r) Mohammad Khalid Rao would officiate in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Khalid Majeed would be the new ambassador in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while Ayesha Abbas Khan would be the new counsel general in New York.
Ambassador in Moscow Qazi Khalilullah, who has retired from service on attaining age of superannuation, has been given an extension for six months considering he played a key role in that position.
Moazzam Khan would be special secretary foreign affairs while he would be replaced by the ambassador in Kuwait Ghulam Dastagir would be the new ambassador in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Additional secretary for Europe Division at the Foreign Office Zaheer Janjua, who had been previously recalled from Moscow, has been appointed as ambassador in Brussels, which is also the seat of EU headquarters. Deputy Chief of mission in Tehran Imran Haider has been appointed as ambassador in Dushanbe.
Special Secretary for Asia-Pacific Imtiaz Ahmed has been designated as ambassador to Japan. The position in Tokyo had been lying vacant since Asad Majeed was moved to Washington as ambassador in the last posting cycle in October last year.
Additional Secretary FM’s Office Amina Baloch has been appointed as ambassador to Malaysia, Javed Khattak as ambassador to Portugal, Saqlain Sayeda as high commissioner to Kenya, Rukhsana Afzal as ambassador to Singapore, Khalid Jamali as ambassador to the Czech Republic, and Ata-ul-Munim as ambassador to Algeria. Khalid Majeed has been appointed as consul general in Jeddah, and Ayesha Abbas Khan in New York.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Announcing the new appointments, Foreign Minister Shah MAhmood Qureshi told media persons that he met Prime Minister Imran Khan and after a detailed discussion he [PM] gave approval for the fresh appointments keeping in view new challenges. The foreign minister expressed the hope that the newly-appointed envoys would play a pivotal role in promoting the soft image of Pakistan and serve the Pakistanis living overseas.
Talking about the appointment of Moeen-ul-Haq as high commissioner in New Delhi, Mr Qureshi said it was an important posting as the election process in India was almost over and a new engagement between Islamabad and New Delhi could be started. “New Delhi, India, is very important…After consultation I have decided to appoint Moin-ul-Haque, the current ambassador in France, who will be sent to (New) Delhi, and I hope that he (Haq) will deliver.”
He said Indian elections are coming to end and it is possible that after the elections a new process of engagement could start. He expressed hope that Mr Haque would perform his new job with best of his abilities.
The term of Mr Haq, who is presently posted as ambassador to France, has been linked with the installation of the next government in India. The position in Delhi had fallen vacant after high commissioner Sohail Mahmood was elevated as foreign secretary.