Mumtaz Zahra Baloch replaces Asim Iftikhar as new FO spokesperson

Published November 11, 2022
A photo of Additional Foreign Secretary for Asia & Pacific Mumtaz Zahra Baloch.
— Foreign Service Academy Twitter
A photo of Additional Foreign Secretary for Asia & Pacific Mumtaz Zahra Baloch. — Foreign Service Academy Twitter

Additional Foreign Secretary for Asia & Pacific Mumtaz Zahra Baloch was appointed as the Foreign Office spokesperson on Friday, according to a notification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

The notification, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said that MOFA Director General (Strategic Communication Division) Saima Sayed would serve as the deputy spokesperson with immediate effect.

Baloch has over 20 years of experience in foreign affairs and has previously served as the ambassador to South Korea, as well as performing duties in other countries such as the United States and China.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar welcomed the “all women ‘Spokeswomen’ team”.

“Congratulations on being MOFA’s flag bearers and the interface between MOFA’s work and how the world hears about it. All the very best!” she tweeted.

Meanwhile, her predecessor, Asim Iftikhar, set to become Pakistan’s ambassador to France, on Wednesday tweeted a picture of himself sharing his credentials with Director of State Protocol Philippe Franc upon the former’s arrival in Paris.

New spokesperson’s profile

Baloch has previously served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2020-2021, deputy head of mission at the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing from 2015-2020, counsellor for political affairs at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC from 2006-2011 and as the second secretary at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations in Geneva from 1999- 2002.

At the FO, she has served as director (America), director (security council and human rights) and director (strategic planning) in the Office of the Foreign Secretary. During 2014-2015, she served as the director (academic programme) and later as director general of the Foreign Service Academy Islamabad.

Baloch holds a Master’s degree in Physics from Punjab University, a Master’s in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a degree from the prestigious Ecole Nationale d’ Administration in France.

New deputy spokesperson’s profile

Sayed has previously served as a counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York from 2015-2018, as the first secretary at the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi from 2012-2015 and as the second secretary at the Embassy of Pakistan in Paris from 2007-2010.

  Saima Sayed.—Still provided by author
Saima Sayed.—Still provided by author

At the FO, she has served as director (arms control and disarmament and science diplomacy), deputy chief of protocol and deputy director Europe.

Sayed holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Quaid–i-Azam University.

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