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Pak high commissioner to India Abdul Basit retires early: Report

Before his appointment as the high commissioner to India in 2014, Abdul Basit had served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Germany from May 2012 till March 2014.

world Updated: Jul 25, 2017 21:55 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Abdul Basit,Nawaz Sharif,Tehmina Janjua
Outgoing Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit during a discussion on India-Pakistan ties on New Delhi.(HT FILE PHOTO)

The Pakistan government has accepted the request of Abdul Basit, the country’s envoy to India, to resign from the foreign service after he was passed over for the post of foreign secretary earlier this year.

Though Basit was to retire in April 2018, he recently sent his resignation letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sources said on Tuesday that Sharif had approved Basit’s request for premature retirement.

Sohail Mahmood, currently Pakistan’s envoy to Turkey, has already been named the next high commissioner to India. Mahmood, a 55-year-old career diplomat, is expected to take up his responsibilities in New Delhi next month.

Sources in Islamabad had earlier told Hindustan Times that Basit had been unhappy since Tehmina Janjua, who is junior to him, had been appointed foreign secretary in February.

Basit was posted as the high commissioner to India in 2014. Before that, he was the envoy to Germany during 2012-14. Basit has a master’s degree in international relations and joined the foreign service in 1982.

He has already completed his three-year tenure in New Delhi but his stint was marred by several controversies. In August 2014, India called off talks between the foreign secretaries after Basit met Kashmiri separatist leaders. His remarks on various issues have also angered the external affairs ministry.

Shortly after Janjua superseded a handful of diplomats in February, Basit had told friends he had initially considered resigning on being passed over. He then had a change of heart and there was even talk that he would be posted as the high commissioner to Britain.

This was the second time Basit was passed over for the post of foreign secretary. In December 2013, he was widely tipped to be appointed to the post but the government chose Aizaz Chaudhry at the last minute.

(With inputs from HT Correspondent, New Delhi)

First Published: Jul 25, 2017 19:33 IST