Jilani appointed envoy to US, Abbas HC to India
10 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Syed Jalil Abbas Jilani has been appointed Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States on an immediate basis while Additional Foreign Secretary Syed Ibn-e-Abbas will be the High Commissioner to India vice Salman Bashir.
Yet another Additional Foreign Secretary Asif Durrani has been designated Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) while Pakistan's Ambassador for Italy, Ms Tehmina Janjua, will be Pakistan's permanent representative (PR) for the United Nations in New York. Syed Ibrar Ahmad will be the new ambassador for Afghanistan. He is moving from Kuwait to Kabul.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has granted approval to the new nominations as the Foreign Office will seek agreement (formal acceptance) from the US State Department in Washington, the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi and the Foreign Office of the UAE for the nominations in question this week.
The new foreign secretary will be appointed in a couple of days and for the office Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq Khan, Ambassador to Germany Abdul Basit Khan and Additional Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry are among the probables. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry is also working as the spokesman of the Foreign Affairs.
The prime minister is undertaking an official visit of the United States in the last week of this month, and he will hold talks with US President Barack Obama on the 23rd of this month in the White House. Jalil Jilani will accompany the prime minister as the designated envoy of Pakistan for that country.
With this, the speculation pertaining to the appointment of outgoing Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as Ambassador to the United States have vanished. Jalil Abbas Jilani will be Islamabad's first career envoy in 14 years. As Tariq Fatemi was the last career ambassador to the United States, who worked from September to December 1999. He was unceremoniously removed by the Pervez Musharraf regime. Fatemi is currently a special assistant to Prime Minister Nawaz and enjoying the status of minister of state (MOS).
Well-placed diplomatic sources told on Wednesday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had detailed consultations with his colleagues dealing with the external and security affairs, including Sartaj Aziz, Tariq Fatemi and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan before taking the all-important decision and meeting with the probables. Jalil Abbas Jilani, who was appointed in the incumbent assignment in March, 2012, Pakistan's Ambassador to Germany Abdul Basit Khan and Ambassador to Italy Ms Tehmina Janjua had meetings with the prime minister separately on Wednesday.
Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq Khan, who has also been tipped for the newly-created slot of the Secretary, National Security Directorate, would be meeting the PM before the latter's departure for Washington. He also had a meeting with the prime minister more than half-a-dozen times recently. Interestingly, Tariq Fatemi, Jalil Jilani, Muhammad Sadiq Khan, Tehmina Janjua and Abdul Basit Khan all have worked as spokesman of the Foreign Office at different times. Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq Khan is an outstanding diplomat and Abdul Basit Khan is among the front runners for the slot of the Foreign Secretary.
Syed Jalil Abbas Jilani had earlier served as Pakistan's high commissioner to Australia and ambassador to Belgium and the European Union. He was Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner to India in 2003 when he was declared persona non grata (PNG) by the Indian government, and he was expelled from India under false pretexts. He is assuming the assignment in Washington that was rendered vacant immediately after the May polls in the country when journalist-turned politician Ms Sherry Rehman resigned as she was a political appointee and accepted the office after resigning from the assembly. She also served as federal information and broadcasting minister.
The current spokesman of the Foreign Office, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, has already been designated Pakistan's ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, but in case he is picked for the highest bureaucratic slot of the Foreign Office, his nomination could be withdrawn, the sources added.
Ambassador Jilani interacted with the Nato HQ based in Brussels on a regular basis as envoy to Belgium and the European Union.
Ambassador Jilani holds a Bachelor's Degree in Law and MSc in Defence and Strategic Studies. In his professional life, he has specialised in South Asian affairs and remained Director India (1992-1995), Deputy High Commissioner/Acting High Commissioner to New Delhi (1999-2003) and Director General South Asia and Saarc (2003-2007). In 2005, he also served as the government's spokesman on foreign affairs. From 1989 to 1992, Ambassador Jilani served as Deputy Secretary in the Prime Minister's Secretariat. His other overseas assignments included; Jeddah (1983-1985), London (1985-1988), Washington (1995-1999) and High Commissioner to Canberra, Australia (2007-2009). In his spare time, he plays golf and is an ardent reader. He is married to Shaista Jilani and has three sons.
Syed Ibne Abbas was till recently Pakistan's High Commissioner to New Zealand and currently looking after the administration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Asif Durrani is a journalist-turned-diplomat, who was looking after the Foreign Affairs in the Presidency. He has been appointed Pakistan's new ambassador to the UAE where a former police officer Jamil Ahmad Khan was the ambassador, and he had to quit early this year upon the defeat of the government that appointed him the envoy.
Asif Durrani is known for his brilliance as a diplomat and looked after the issues pertaining to foreign affairs for more than four years in the Presidency. He belongs to Quetta and was a promising journalist before joining the Foreign Service, the sources added.