The Pakistan government has in principle decided to appoint Abdul Basit as the new foreign secretary in place of Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary who will become the country’s envoy to the United States, a local news channel and newspaper reported on Saturday. Basit is currently Pakistan’s envoy to India.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who will also retain the foreign affairs portfolio, has concluded consultations for appointing the new administrative boss of the Foreign Office. It is likely that the announcement of Basit’s appointment will be made next week, reported Saleh Zafir, a special correspondent for The News and Geo News.
Quoting unnamed sources, reports said that Abdul Basit is the seniormost among the contenders for the slot. He was selected for the job three years ago but couldn’t be appointed due to technical reasons and was instead posted as high commissioner in New Delhi.
Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations’ Geneva headquarters Tehmina Janjua, former chief of protocol and ambassador to France Ghalib Iqbal, ambassador for Denmark Masroor Junejo and high commissioner for United Kingdom Syed Ibne Hasan were the other contenders for the post.
The same newspaper and correspondent had predicted in August 2016 that Janjua would be the next foreign secretary. Janjua, who has served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Italy and in various important foreign positions, had also worked as a spokesperson of the Foreign Office for about two years.
Ambassador to the US Syed Jalil Abbas Jailani has relinquished charge as ambassador in Washington after his term ended. Rizwan Saeed Sheikh will be acting as chargé d’affaires till Chaudhary arrives in the US capital.
It is likely that the formal agreement or consent for his appointment by the US administration will be received soon, the paper said, but unnamed sources said the Donald Trump administration has stalled the issuance of all pending agreements from several countries, including Pakistan.
The Pakistan Foreign Office did not comment on the reports.