Pak new envoy for
Saudi Arabia to assume
duties in December


ISLAMABAD: Islamabad’s new ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Khurram Rathore, is expected to formally assume office in early December replacing present envoy Lt. Gen ® Bilal Akbar.

Pak new ambassador to Ameer Khurram Rathore

A career diplomat, Rathore, who had only taken charge as Pakistan’s high commissioner in Canada in September, was part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s entourage during a three-day visit to the kingdom last month.
In Riyadh, he will be replacing Lt. Gen (retd) Bilal Akbar who took office in January after Pakistan’s previous ambassador, Raja Ali Ejaz, and several other members of the mission were recalled following alleged complaints from Pakistani expats in Saudi Arabia. 
“The appointment of Khurram Rathore as Pakistan’s new ambassador to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is expected to complete very soon,” Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, the prime minister’s special aide on Middle East, told Saima Shabir for Arab News. “He is expected to assume his charge in Riyadh in the first week of December this year.”

Pakistan’s new ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ameer Khurram Rathore, addresses Berlin Economic Forum in Germany on March 17, 2017. (Photo courtesy: Academy for Cultural Diplomacy)

He added that Gen. Akbar would be appointed ambassador in another country. About 2.5 million Pakistani expats live and work in Saudi Arabia and are Pakistan’s top contributors of foreign remittances.
Ashrafi said Rathore is expected to improve the embassy’s relations with them. “Prime Minister Imran Khan is very concerned and committed to provide relief to overseas Pakistanis especially our large diaspora in Saudi Arabia,” Ashrafi said. “He wanted our mission to be more accessible to public and improve its interaction with Pakistani community in the kingdom.”
The Pakistani embassy in Riyadh did not respond to questions regarding the new appointment, while the foreign office in Islamabad declined comment referring to the issue as “administrative matters.” 

Present ambassador Lt. Gen ® Bilal Akbar

According to diplomatic sources, an ambassador is appointed for three years but Lt. Gen (retd) Bilal Akbar who took office in January is called back within year. No reason for this sudden change has been disclosed.