Non-career envoys to resign with new govt’s arrival: FO

Islamabad: The Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday said that non-career ambassadors, according to their contract, are deemed to have resigned unless the new government decides otherwise.

He said this when asked about the fate of all those ambassadors and high commissioners who are political appointees, including Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington. As bilateral relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia have hit a historical low over demands by the former for respecting human rights, Pakistan announced on Thursday, “Pakistan stands by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in protecting its sovereignty as a matter of principle and based on the historic and brotherly relations between our two countries.”

In a related development, Saudi Arabia has taken some strong and extreme steps against Canada when the latter voiced its demands for releasing jailed activists, including women, while saying that its policies were its internal matter. “Pakistan is following with immense concern the crisis in the relations between Saudi Arabia and Canada and places on record its solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the spokesman at the Foreign Office said in a hurriedly-released media statement.

As Saudi Arabia’s steps against Canada were taken up by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Pakistan also sided with the Muslim world. “We fully agree to the statement of the OIC Secretary General that Saudi Arabia enjoys immense respect at the regional and international level, as it does among the people of Pakistan.”

The statement further added that Pakistan always supported the sovereignty of states and the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of other states. “Both these aspects are enshrined in the UN Charter and are among the basic tenets of international law, and the foundation of peaceful and friendly inter-state relations,” said the Foreign Office.

Meanwhile, while every ambassador and high commissioner from important world capitals has called upon Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, there have been no “note takers” from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in these one-on-one meetings at Banigala. For the first time, the ministry was completely bypassed. Telephone calls have also been directly made by heads of state to the PTI chairman, in some cases bypassing the Foreign Office.

“No one from the ministry has met the prime minister-elect so far. The ministry was not in the loop when Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative at the United Nations, met the prime minister-elect,” Spokesman at the Foreign Office told the weekly media meeting.

Speculations had risen after press statements emerged from Banigala which did not go through the Foreign Office and several misinterpretations were made. According to the PTI, European Union Ambassador to Pakistan in a meeting with the PM-elect was reported to have said that the EU has no objection to the proposed IP Gas pipeline project. “We have not received any official communication from the European Union in this regard. We have noted the reported statement by EU ambassador. As you are aware, Pakistan is an energy deficient country and we are working on developing multiple sources of energy supply. The IP gas pipeline is one of the projects in this regard. The EU’s interest in this project would be helpful,” he commented.

The gas pipeline is also on the minds of the government as the US has taken some drastic measures to sanction Iran. “We are examining the implications of the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran. However, Pakistan, being a sovereign state, reserves the right to pursue legitimate economic and commercial interests while respecting the international legal regime,” he remarked.

As old foes embrace and bilateral relations start to strengthen, Pakistan says that Russia and Pakistan relations, including defence ties, have grown steadily over the years and both countries have established regular military-to-military contacts. “Pakistan and Russia have been successful in developing a strong partnership, which is based on mutual trust, commonality of interests and convergence of views on important global and regional issues. The two countries have been able to construct a positive trajectory in sustaining high-level interactions and exploring new avenues to cement bilateral relations in all spheres, including the defence sector,” the spokesman added.

AlamulKhabar Pakistan