Reshuffle in diplomatic assignments at major capitals

Published October 27, 2018
Pakistani Foreign Ministry Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Photo: File/AFP
Pakistani Foreign Ministry Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Photo: File/AFP

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced on Friday a major reshuffle in diplomatic assignments abroad, including the proposed appointments of two career diplomats — Dr Asad Majeed Khan and Nafees Zakaria — as Pakistan’s new ambassador and high commissioner in Washington and London, respectively.

Speaking at a press conference, he said the appointment of career diplomats as new envoys at Washington, London, Ottawa, Riyadh, Doha, Rabat, Belgrade, Havana and Dubai was aimed at replacing some political appointees with senior and career diplomats so that they could safeguard Pakistan’s interests and present the country’s points of view on various issues in a more effective manner.

He said Raza Bashir Tarar would be appointed high commissioner in Ottawa, Raja Ali Aijaz ambassador in Riyadh, Syed Ahsan Raza Shah ambassador in Doha, Hamid Asghar Khan ambassador in Belgrade, Sahibzada Ahmad Khan ambassador in Havana and Ahmad Amjad Ali consul general in Dubai.

Replying to a question about the coming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, the foreign minister said the prime minister would hold bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, besides visiting Shanghai to represent Pakistan at the International Expo being hosted by China and attended by various countries.

Mr Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was among the leaders invited by China as special guests, would deliver a key-note address at the event.

Talks with UAE team

The foreign minister also briefed media persons about the discussions made with the visiting UAE delegation comprising CEOs/senior officials of major companies — including Mobadla Petroleum, ADIA (Sovereign Wealth Funds), Etisalat, DP World, Dubai Investment Authority, Emaar Company, Aldahra Agriculture and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

He said the one-day visit of the delegation headed by Dr Sultan Aljaber, minister of state and CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, was a follow-up to the prime minister’s official visit to Abu Dhabi on Sept 19 and his understanding with Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to forge closer economic, trade and investment relations between the two countries in all areas of common interest.

During the discussions, the FM said, two sides deliberated on the ways and means to further broaden and deepen economic relations in diverse areas of mutual benefit between Pakistan and the UAE. The areas identified for cooperation are agriculture, agricultural exports, fruit and vegetables, food processing industry, energy, housing, water etc.

He said as Pakistan’s rice exports to the UAE had decreased over the past few years, as compared to India, there was a need to correct this situation and the two sides discussed the ways and means in that respect.

Mr Qureshi said Pakistani fruit and vegetables, particularly citrus and mango, were available in high quality and quantity and could be exported. But, these fruits go waste due to short shelf life and inadequate storage facilities. With the UAE having quality packing expertise, it can invest in Pakistan’s food processing industry for onward exports of the country’s perishable food items for mutual benefit of the two countries.

The foreign minister said in the energy sector the UAE side had expressed interest in the establishment of an oil refinery and a state-of-the-art energy terminal in Pakistan, which could serve as a hub of energy in the region.

He said the two sides also discussed how the UAE could facilitate Pakistan, like Saudi Arabia, in oil supply through a preferential treatment and help the country to meet its high fiscal needs.

The foreign minister said the two sides also discussed how the UAE companies could contribute to implementation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative of the housing project for the low income groups.

He said since the UAE had modern technology and expertise in desalination of sea water, the two sides deliberated upon the ways and means for cooperation in this area, particularly to meet water requirements of Karachi and Gwadar.

Published in Dawn, October 27th , 2018

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