Munir Akram replaces Maleeha Lodhi, appointments, transfers in diplomatic corp

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ISLAMABAD: Just within three days of speech by Prime Minister Imran Khan at the UN General Assembly, the Permanent Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, has been removed along with some other important changes in country’s diplomatic corp. 

The Foreign Office in Islamabad announced on Monday that in a major reshuffle in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the appointment of ambassador Munir Akram as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, the Foreign Office announced on Monday. He will replace Dr Maleeha Lodhi, who has held the office of Pakistan’s envoy to the UN since February 2015.

Munir Akram has previously served as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN as well, holding the office for six years between 2002 and 2008. He used to write on Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and kept suggesting various proposals to streamline it.

It was coincidence that Maleeha Lodhi has been replaced at a time when she

was the same day (Thursday) unanimously elected as one of the four vice presidents of the Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc), the economic arm of the United Nations. She was elected by acclamation after her candidature was endorsed by the 54-member body, will assume the Asia Pacific seat in the Ecosoc bureau.

No official reason was given sofar of this unexpected change as Imran Khan was looking satisfied with the performance of Maleeha Lodhi., she preferred to leave the place.

Soon after the news of replacement, Maleeha Lodhi tweeted on her personal Twitter account on Monday, about her plan to ‘move on’ after the United Nations General Assembly session, expressing gratitude over her tenure as the UN envoy from the country.

“It has been an honour to serve the country & I am grateful for the opportunity to do so for over four years. Representing Pakistan at the world’s most important multilateral forum was a great privilege. I had planned to move on after UNGA following a successful visit by the PM”.

In another Twitter post, she said that she is humbled by the appreciation she received following the prime minister’s visit, wishing luck to her successor Akram. “I am humbled by the appreciation I have received for the PM’s visit and the support I have also received over the years. I wish my successor Munir Akram the best of luck!”

According to notification issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Islamabad, among other changes approved by the prime minister;

  • Khalil Ahmad Hashmi, who is at present serving as director general (UN) at the foreign ministry, has been appointed as Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN in Geneva.
  • Muhammad Aejaz, the Additional Secretary (AIT) at MoFA, has been appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to Hungary.
  • The Pakistani Charge d’ Affaires to Pyongyang, Syed Sajjad Haider, has now been posted as the new ambassador to Kuwait.
  • Imran Ahmad Siddiqui, who is presently serving as Pakistan’s consul general in Toronto, Canada, has been appointed as the high commissioner of Pakistan to Bangladesh. He will be replaced by Abdul Hamid.
  • Pakistan’s new envoy to Muscat, Oman will be Ahsan K.K. Wagan, who currently holds the office of Charge d’ Affaires in Niamey, Niger.
  • Retired Maj Gen Muhammad Saad Khattak has been appointed as the High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka.
  • Abrar Hussain Hashmi has been appointed to serve as the Pakistani consul general in Houston, Texas, USA.