ISLAMABAD: The US State Department has cleared all the decks for the appointment of Sardar Masood Khan as Pakistan’s envoy in Washington, local media reports said on Saturday. Now, he will replace incumbent Pakistani Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan.
Earlier, Media reports had claimed that the US held up the acceptance of the Masood Khan over his sympathy for terrorist leaders and organizations. Masood Khan’s nomination had been sent to Washington by Pakistan Foreign Office in November last year.
Earlier this week, a US Congressman had raised grave concern about the appointment of Masood Khan as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States.
In a letter to US President Joe Biden, Congressman Scott Perry had asked Biden to reject Masood’s appointment, stating that Imran Khan’s nomination of a bona fide “terrorist sympathiser”.
Congressman Perry added that Masood Khan can only be described as a “breathtaking lack of judgment at best,” and “a demonstration of Islamabad’s unmitigated contempt for the United States at worst.”
“While I am encouraged that the State Department has reportedly placed a pause on approving Masood Khan as the new Ambassador from Pakistan, a pause is not enough. I urge you to reject any diplomatic credentials presented to you by Masood Khan and reject any effort by the Government of Pakistan to install this jihadist as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States,” Scott Perry had said in his letter to Biden.
The Foreign Office Spokesperson on Tuesday said India was using fake news to run a ‘wider disinformation campaign’ against Pakistan, including over the appointment of Sardar Masood as envoy to the United States.
Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad stated this in response to a question regarding the reports carried by Indian media on the government of to appoint Sardar Masood’s ambassador to the U.S.
“This is a part of the wider Indian disinformation campaign to malign Pakistan and those who represent Pakistan, by using fake news to make scandalous claims and baseless allegations,” he said.
The FO Spokesperson said that Ambassador Masood Khan was a highly accomplished diplomat with 40 years of experience in both multilateral and bilateral diplomacy.
“His Agreement is being processed in the U.S. system,” he said, regarding reports about delay in his approval by the U.S. administration.
Khan has previously served as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) and its ambassador to China. He is to replace the outgoing Pakistani envoy in Washington Asad Majeed Khan.
The delay in Khan’s appointment came amid increasingly colder Washington-Islamabad ties over geo-political reasons, particularly the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s close ties with Beijing.
The relations have suffered a greater setback after the arrival of President Joe Biden who refused to speak to Pakistan’s prime minister, even as his administration continued to seek Islamabad’s support in Afghanistan.
Washington does not have the same amount of interest in Pakistan after the pullout of foreign forces from Afghanistan in August 2021. It is also critical of Islamabad’s close ties with China, although Pakistan has said that it does not want to become a part of any bloc.