India may have changed the composition of the Pakistani team, which started negotiation in New Delhi, but it did not count on a face reader being part of the delegation. A Pakistani English language daily reported from Islamabad on Wednesday that one of the team members in New Delhi can read the faces of people and predict what they are thinking and feeling — an art known as physiognomy.
The News revealed that the Director-General for South Asia, Afrasiab Hashmi, may turn out to be a treasured guide for the country’s delegation by reading the faces of the Indian negotiators. Few people know about the quality of Hashmi, the paper said, adding that Hashmi is an expert in judging a person’s character or personality from that person's facial characteristics and structure.
The Pakistan Foreign Office's spokesperson, Abdul Basit, confirmed Hashmi’s mastery in face reading but added that he was unaware of its utility at an official level.
Hashmi also has some skills in predicting the immediate future. The story goes a senior Pakistani diplomat was briefing his junior colleagues on August 16, 1988 about the upcoming visit of the then-president General Ziaul Haq to the UN General Assembly. “He won’t come”, a budding diplomat seated on the backbenches shouted. “How do you say so?,” his boss inquired worryingly. The young diplomat then ran out of the room.
One colleague says that at the time Hashmi was nervous, tired and terrified. As he was consoled and when asked he refused to open his lips till Zia’s plane crash made rounds of the whole world the next day. He then said he “just knew” Zia ul Haq would not come.
Well before Hashmi had joined the foreign service, General Zia knew about his skills and is believed to have sent him a huge portrait of himself out of curiosity to know about his future. Hashmi was then a student of the Government College Lahore.