‘Superstitious’ Zardari delays diplomatic formalities

Published June 25, 2013
Acting upon his Pir’s advice, the president’s travel plans twice delayed the ceremony where eight ambassadors were to present their credentials. – File Photo
Acting upon his Pir’s advice, the president’s travel plans twice delayed the ceremony where eight ambassadors were to present their credentials. – File Photo

For President Asif Ali Zardari acting upon the advice of his Pir (spiritual mentor) is more important than receiving foreign ambassadors. At least, it seems so in the backdrop of recent events.

Sources told Dawn.com that President Zardari’s travel plans twice delayed the ceremony where eight ambassadors were supposed to present their credentials.

The ambassadors of China, Brunei, Lebanon, Uruguay and four other countries have been waiting for more than two weeks to present their credentials.

Under diplomatic norms, the envoys cannot commence their formal diplomatic activities unless they present their credentials to head of the state.

Sources said the presidency issued the schedule for the ceremony three weeks ago that was supposed to take place in Islamabad. Meanwhile, the president had left for Karachi forcing the protocol staff to cancel the ceremony.

It was reported the president flew from the hilly federal capital on the advice of his Pir who wanted him to stay close to the seashore for “good-luck” and to ward off ‘some evil spirits dangling over his head.’

Keeping in view the president’s prolonged stay in Karachi, it was decided to receive the credentials in the provincial capital on Monday (June 24). However, the plan was changed once again.

This time it was not clear whether Pir Sahab had advised President Zardari to go a mountainous area instead.

Requesting anonymity a diplomat told Dawn.com that the ceremony of presenting credentials is traditionally held in the official residence of the head of state. In case of Pakistan the envoys are given a red carpet welcome as well as a short ride in specially decorated horse carriages.

Some of the envoys coming from their respective countries had to cancel their flights on two occasions. Now they have been told to come to the presidency, in Islamabad, and present their credentials to the president on Thursday (June 27).

One can only hope that Pir Sahab would not receive yet another fresh revelation that his client must avoid the shadows of Margalla Hills this time.

No one from the presidency was ready to comment on ‘such a sensitive issue.’

– Shahzad Raza is a freelance contributor. His twitter handle is @shahz79

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