Pakistan will soon send a new envoy to Washington as the country’s current ambassador, Asad Majeed Khan, will soon complete his tenure, English newspaper, Daily Dawn reported on Thursday.
Islamabad has already started the selection process and the former president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, tops the list of candidates.
Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden also nominated a new ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Armin Blome, an expert on Middle East affairs. He is currently the US ambassador to Tunisia.
Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan’s tenure coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced all diplomatic missions in Washington to limit their activities to virtual contacts.
Masood Khan is a retired diplomat who twice served as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva and New York and as ambassador to China. After retirement, he headed the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad before returning to his native AJK as president.
According to media reports, diplomatic observers in Washington point out that his nomination “would send a strong signal to Washington, that Pakistan now wants to highlight the Kashmir issue”.
The observers, however, wonder if this is the right time to do so, as after Kabul’s fall to the Taliban on Aug 15, Washington has remained focused on Afghanistan.
In recent hearings in the House and the Senate, lawmakers often demanded a probe into Pakistan’s alleged role in the Taliban victory and the Biden administration did not oppose the proposal.
During their recent visits to Washington and New York, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf and Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin also focused on Afghanistan.