Did Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan receive the dictation from the former foreign minister before officially sending Demarche?

By Agha Iqrar Haroon

All is said and done. The sensitive move should have been locked away in the Foreign Secretary’s secret closet, is read by too many, and is in the hands of several people outside the Foreign Office. A large number of PTI parliamentarians claim to have read it (or so they claimed). What a new standard of foreign affairs that Pakistan has adopted. But there are questions in serious diplomatic circles.

Whatever the outcome of the parliamentary committee’s investigation, in this case, the damage is already done with no possibility of reversal unless exceptional penalties are meted out to those responsible for this mess.

Did Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan discuss pointers with former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi or did Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan write/type/telegraph and send it through channel appropriate to the Foreign Secretary? If the Ambassador discussed the pointers directly with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, had he (the former Minister of Foreign Affairs) dictated to him to include anything special in the observational part of the process? Did the Minister of Foreign Affairs dictate what should have been the rhythm and the feeling given off by the Démarche? Did the ambassador accept the dictation and include what was desired by a politician? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered because this move has created a sense of mistrust between several institutions and between Pakistan and the United States and I’m sure every sane diplomat on earth would be very aware speaking and discussing anything with anyone in foreign affairs. service of pakistan.

There is an urgent need for an overhaul of the entire Department of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Service and this can be started with a categorical announcement that “No renewal after retirement”

Whatever the outcome of the parliamentary committee’s investigation, in this case, the damage is already done with no possibility of reversal unless exceptional penalties are meted out to those responsible for this mess. I understand the establishment code, rules (written and unwritten) and I know that politicians (ministers, ministers of state, advisers, etc.) cannot manipulate the system if the department secretary is professional, confident , respects the books, brave enough to call a spade a spade and has no desire to be named or extended after retirement. No politician can temper the system because the state is the responsibility of the permanent state, civil and military bureaucracy. And the permanent state doesn’t allow anyone to play by the rules.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a decade works quite differently. Former secretary Tehmina Janjua was reappointed after her retirement like her predecessor Aizaz Ch who was also reappointed after her retirement. This desire for renewal after retirement materialized in the marriage between politicians and foreign service officers. Each Secretary can now consider having “excellent” relations with politicians to ensure their renewal after their retirement. Appointments abroad are another story to detail but we can say that today’s foreign affairs service is like any other service where political intervention has become a rule to manage a beautiful career. Many of my foreign service friends still reject my view that the career politician-officer marriage could be dangerous for the country and are of the view that they have the right to design their careers with the active help of politicians. . I remember that a number of career diplomats had been in contact with former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi years before he entered the cabinet of the foreign minister. Secrecy could be compromised when career officers who sit among classified files have cordial and regular meetings with politicians with no official ties to Foreign Affairs. Alas, there had been a system to check such activities in the past, but this system has already gone somewhere with windy weather. Put simply, there is an urgent need for an overhaul of the entire Foreign Office and Foreign Service and this can be started with a categorical announcement “No renewal after retirement”.

I believe that this mess that the entire country is facing was originally generated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that there is an absolute need for a thorough investigation into what happened and who is/ are responsible for Demarche-Gate —- This gate needs to be repaired once and for all.

Warning:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/opinion/commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Think Tank and Dispatch News Bureau (DND). Assumptions made in the analysis do not reflect the position of the DND Think Tank and the Dispatch News Desk.

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