ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to change its ambassadors/high commissioners in 14 important countries including France, North Korea, Kuwait, Sweden, New Zeeland, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Senegal, Zimbabwe and the Philippine. Ambassador to China is still to be appointed after Masood Khan left the charge and he assumed the assignment in New York to represent Pakistan in the United Nations headquarters.
The government has informally approved the appointment of chief of protocol Ghalib Iqbal who is in senior grade of PBS-21 as ambassador to China but a small group in the Foreign Office is trying to scuttle the move. The Foreign Office has proposed to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to appoint Ghalib as envoy to Beijing and he is likely to give instructions to the Foreign Office in this regard after returning from Kuwait later this week.
Well-placed diplomatic sources told The News that Foreign Secretary Syed Jaleel Abbas Jailani is bringing about major reshuffle in the diplomatic appointment for the second time since he assumed office in March last. Pakistan’s ambassador in France Shafkat Saeed who is on extension for the last five years is likely to hang his gloves as special secretary of the Foreign Office Alamgir Khan Babar will be replacing him in the last month of the year. Pakistan ambassador to Kuwait Iftikhar Aziz is likely to be replaced with Riaz Bukhari who is currently working in the Parliament’s upper house but hails from the Foreign Service. Iftikhar Aziz is moving to a European country as an envoy. Additional foreign secretary Sajjad Kamran will be ambassador to Sweden vice Nadeem Riyaz who is returning to the headquarters.
In an important change Arif Mahmood, ambassador to North Korea until recently, has returned from Pyongyang and has been appointed director general Europe. Pakistan’s ambassador to Qatar Sarfraz Khanzada will replace him in the North Korean capital. Ms. Zehra Akbari currently director general South Asia has been posted Pakistan’s high commissioner in New Zeeland to replace Ibne Abbas who will be returning to Islamabad for the time being but is eyeing Beijing assignment. He is likely to become additional foreign secretary for East Asia Pacific (EAP) in place of Sajjad Kamran. Pakistan’s ambassador to Kazakhstan Akhtar Tufail is reaching retirement age and will be replaced by additional foreign secretary (Administration) Ikram-ul-lah Khan Mehsood. Pakistan’s envoy to Manila, Mohsin Razi, has been posted in Africa. His exact assignment will be known in a couple of days, the sources said.
Asif Khan, director general strategic export control division (SECDIV) has been appointed ambassador to Zimbabwe to replace Syed Zulfikar Ali Shah who has spent about five years in Harare. He is being called back to Islamabad. Pakistan will have a new ambassador in Qatar. Pakistan’s ambassador to Senegal Muhammad Abdul Mateen Khan is being replaced by Amjad Ali Sher Khan who currently heads the African desk in the Foreign Office. Ms. Seema Illahi Baluch high commissioner to Sri Lanka will retire next month and is being replaced with a retired army general. Pakistan’s high commissioner to Malaysia Masood Khalid is being posted back in the headquarters as his replacement is being discussed, the sources said.
Pakistan’s consul general in Jeddah Abdul Salik Khan has been replaced with Aftab Khokhar who is working with the Senate secretariat, as he has served in Geneva with Pakistan’s permanent mission. Abdul Salik Khan who has also served in China will get an important assignment in the Foreign Office on his return, the sources added.