ASAD Majeed Khan
ASAD Majeed Khan

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Asad Majeed Khan returned to Islamabad on March 24 after completing his tenure and did not leave the country abruptly, the embassy record shows.

Ambassador Khan arrived in Washington soon after his predecessor, Ambassador Jehangir Siddiqui, relinquished his job on Dec 25, 2018, and he presented his credentials to former US president Donald Trump on Jan 11, 2019.

Ambassador Asad Khan completed his three-year term on Jan 11, 2022, but stayed in Washington till March 24 on the arrival of ambassador-designate Sardar Masood Khan. Ambassador Asad Khan is now Pakistan’s ambassador-designate in Brussels.

At a news briefing in Lahore on Tuesday, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz described Asad Majeed Khan as the main character behind the so-called ‘threat letter’ controversy, which blames the Biden administration for backing the move to topple the PTI government. “The letter was a drama that was why the ambassador [Majid] was transferred to Brussels overnight,” she said.

Maryam described him as the main character behind so-called ‘threat letter’ controversy

But records maintained at the Pakistan Embassy and media reports showed that “there’s nothing abrupt about Ambassador Khan’s arrival or departure”, as a diplomatic source said.

The news about diplomatic changes in Washington, Brussels and Riyadh first appeared in the Pakistani media in October last year, stating that Masood Khan, the 27th president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, is going to Washington as the country’s new envoy.

The reports pointed out that he would replace Ambassador Asad Khan who is going to Brussels as the new envoy to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg.

On Nov 4, 2021, the Pakistan Embassy in Washington confirmed that it had received nomination papers for Ambassador Masood Khan. The embassy submitted Mr Khan’s agrément to the State Department later that month.

In February, the Biden administration approved Mr Khan’s papers, starting the process for his arrival in Washington. The approval took longer than usual because of the Covid-19 pandemic which had impacted the entire administrative machinery across the United States.

The delay, however, gave the Indian lobby in the US an opportunity to launch a vilifying campaign against Mr Khan because of his Kashmiri origin and Ambassador Asad Khan played a key role in combating the propaganda against his senior. Ambassador Asad Khan, although a grade-22 career diplomat, is junior to Masood Khan who had retired from service after representing Pakistan at the UN and in China as an ambassador.

On the evening of his departure, Congress­woman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chairwoman of the Pakistan caucus in the US Congress, presented to him Certificate of Congressional Recognition for his efforts in promoting US-Pakistan relations.

“I firmly believe that our future lies in further strengthening Pakistan-US partnership and working together for shared objectives,” said Ambassador Asad Khan while thanking Congress for recognising his work.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2022

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