Facing criticism for his performance on issues at UN related to India, Pakistan's Ambassador to the world body Hussain Abdullah Haroon has expressed his desire to step down before the end of his term.
Haroon is not a career diplomat and was appointed as Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN in September 2008 largely due to his proximity to the ruling Pakistan People's Party.
His contract is valid till September next year. In recent weeks, he has faced strong criticism in sections of the Pakistani media for his performance at the UN. Much of the criticism has focused on Haroon's reported friendship with India's Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Puri and his performance on issues at the world body related to India.
Though his contract was extended by the government last month and he was supposed to continue in the post till next year, Haroon told friends and journalists after a dinner hosted by the American Pakistani Physicians of North America on Saturday that he wanted to step down.
"I am 60 years old and want to do something else for my nation while staying in Pakistan. That is why I have informed the authorities that I am coming back," Haroon was quoted as saying in a media report.
Haroon, who plans to return to Pakistan in a few days, was asked about the chances of his return to New York. He said: "I don't think I will be coming back." He noted that his stand could "make my friends in Islamabad angry". An aide to Haroon said the government is trying to persuade him to change his mind. "He will perhaps leave for Pakistan on November 4 to meet the President and the Prime Minister and would be back to finish the remaining work even if he does not change his mind," the aide said.