Shaharyar Khan
Shaharyar Khan

KARACHI: Veteran diplomat and former chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Shaharyar Khan passed away in Lahore on Saturday after a protracted illness. He was 89.

The Foreign Office paid tribute to the diplomat — who performed many roles during his distinguished career between 1957 and 1994 at the foreign ministry, including foreign secretary, ambassador and high commissioner — and honoured his “monumental services in protecting Pakistan’s diplomatic interests”, according to a Dawn.com report.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Mr Khan was an experienced diplomat who played an “excellent role in promoting Pakistan’s relations with other countries”.

During his postings as high commissioner and ambassador, Mr Khan advanced foreign policy interests of Pakistan in a “superb manner”, the premier said, adding that as the PCB chairperson on different occasions, Mr Khan had also performed his responsibilities “magnificently”.

PM Shehbaz acknowledges Khan’s services for Pakistani diplomacy, cricket

The prime minister said Mr Khan’s services for Pakistani diplomacy and cricket would always be remembered.

Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar said Mr Khan had served the country with “great distinction” as a diplomat and PCB chief, adding that he would be greatly missed, APP reported.

Foreign Secretary Muhammad Syrus Qazi said he was deeply saddened by Mr Khan’s passing and praised him as “one of Pakistan’s finest diplomats.”

Mr Qazi said the deceased left behind a “rich legacy of accomplishment and protecting and promoting Pakistan’s interests”.

Pakistan’s mission to the UN said Mr Khan’s death was a great loss to the country and hailed him as a “legendary public servant who served Pakistan with utmost dedication”.

Mr Khan served as the ambassador to Jordan, UK and France. He was appointed UN secretary-general’s special representative in Rwanda in 1994. He migrated to Pakistan in 1950 with his mother, Princess Abida Sultaan, the daughter of Nawab of Bhopal Hamidullah Khan.

Meanwhile, the PCB also expressed deep sadness and sorrow over the death of its former chairman, who served in the role for two terms.

He served as chairman of the board from December 2003 to October 2006 and from August 2014 to August 2017, according to a PCB statement.

“Shaharyar Khan also worked as team manager of the Pakistan National Men’s team during the 1999 tour of India and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003,” the press release said.

It added that the board pays “heartfelt condolences to Shaharyar Khan’s family on his sad demise”, wishing to always remember him as one of the vital characters in bringing cricket back to Pakistan during the last decade.

According to the press release, PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi said: “On behalf of the PCB, I express my deep condolences and grief over the passing of former Chairman Shaharyar Khan. He was a fine administrator and served Pakistan Cricket with utmost dedication.”

“Pakistan Cricket will stay indebted to the late Shaharyar Khan for his commendable role as head of the board and for his services in the growth and development of the game in the country,” the press release quoted him as saying.

Renowned academic, policy expert and World Wildlife Fund International President Dr Adil Najam lauded Khan as a “wonderfully warm and affectionate human being” while recounting his contributions to Pakistan in numerous roles.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also mourned the death and listed notable aspects of the deceased’s life, such as being a scion of the Bhopal royal family and a co-author with Mr Tharoor on Shadows Across the Playing Field, a book on the history of India-Pakistan cricket from Partition to 2009.

“A fine human being, a refined intellect and a genuine advocate of good neighbourly relations between our countries, he will be deeply mourned in India,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2024

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