Pakistan mulling options for envoy Abdul Basit's replacement: Sources

Pakistan is mulling options to replace its hawkish envoy to India, Abdul Basit, after his tussle with the decisions-makers in Islamabad following the elevation of his junior as Foreign Secretary.

Published: 25th March 2017 12:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2017 12:26 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistan High Commisioner Abdul Basit. |AFP

By PTI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is mulling options to replace its hawkish envoy to India, Abdul Basit, after his tussle with the decisions-makers in Islamabad following the elevation of his junior Tehmina Janjua as Foreign Secretary.     

Basit, the Pakistan High Commissioner to India, was appointed in March 2014 after he suffered a major disappointment when he was sure of being appointed Pakistan's Foreign Secretary but last-minute wheeling and dealing resulted in the appointment of Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.     

Basit, who has completed his turbulent three-year tenure in New Delhi, again failed to get favours from the decisions-makers in Islamabad last month when Janjua was appointed his boss to become Pakistan's first woman Foreign Secretary.     

Reliable sources said Basit in the heat of passions had thought of resigning, but later decided to stay put, making it clear to his bosses he would not work in any 'subordinate' position to Janjua. As he completes his tenure, Foreign Office bosses are unsure how to deal with Basit.

Sources said an option could be to let Basit carry on but the problem is he is considered hawkish by the incumbent government who hardly fits into the Prime Minister's policy of "good ties with all neighbours". Another possibility could be to send him as ambassador or high commissioner to a European capital. The last option could be to send his replacement to New Delhi and let him come back and then proceed on a long leave.

Already, the name of senior diplomat Sohail Mahmood is being discussed as his possible replacement. He is not the only one and ther names being discussed include one of former spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, the sources said.     

In his Pakistan Day speech on Thursday at the embassy in New Delhi, Basit said the long-standing unresolved issue of Kashmir must be resolved as per the "aspirations of Kashmiris".

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