Thursday December 02, 2021

PM clarifies his statement on ambassadors

Former envoys express dismay over pubic criticism by PM Imran Khan

May 12, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan. File photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said the Foreign Office (FO) was doing great job, especially in highlighting the Kashmir issue at different forum across the world.

A few days back, he had lambasted the country’s top diplomats for failing to serve the Pakistani diaspora in their respective countries of residence. However, he had to face severe reaction from the opposition leaders as well as the foreign service personnel. Inamul Haque, president of the Association of Former Ambassadors, said in a letter to the prime minister that the public reprimand of ambassadors “was ill advised and reflected a lack of understanding of the work that our diplomatic missions are performing despite major constraints and impediments”.

Revisiting his earlier stance on Tuesday, the premier said that criticism of ambassadors was aimed at some individuals and his comments should have not gone live. He said he wanted to make it clear that Pakistan’s embassies and Foreign Office had rendered great services in promoting country’s good image abroad and raising the held Kashmir issue and plight of Kashmiris at the relevant forums. He said his comments were taken as if he was criticising the entire Foreign Office, which was not true. He said he was appreciative of the good work of Pak embassies abroad.

Speaking on the issue separately, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he believed that everything was fine at that event where the prime minister spoke about the ambassadors. However, whatever was said should have not been publicised in a negative manner. He said Pakistan’s opponent countries, especially India, blew the issue out of proportions and created a storm in a teacup over the issue. He said there should be no ambassador bashing at all, and they should be respected for the great services they were rendering for the country. He said there would be no ambassador bashing at all [in future].

Inamul Haque had told the premier in his letter that the Association of Former Ambassadors, comprising more than one hundred retired officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “has noted with dismay your public castigation of the Pakistan embassies in a televised address to Pakistani ambassadors abroad”.

The letter said: “There are always some lapses in any organisation. These should be rectified and those responsible for any transgression must be held to account after a thorough and full inquiry. “To denounce an entire institution, without a proper and impartial investigation, is unconscionable,” added the letter.