ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has come under criticism for accusing the country's foreign service officers of harboring "colonial mindset" and "callousness" while appreciating their Indian counterparts.
Addressing the envoys virtually on Wednesday, Khan showed anger at what he called 'shocking callousness' of Pakistani diplomats abroad towards fellow Pakistanis.
He also accused them of having a "colonial mindset" in their dealing with Pakistani nationals.
Khan said, "Indian embassies are more proactive in bringing investments -to their country and they also provide- better services to their citizens".
At least three former foreign secretaries of Pakistan took strong exception to Khan's remarks.
"Deeply dismayed at the unwarranted criticism of the Foreign Ministry," tweeted Tehmina Janjua, the first woman foreign secretary in the history of Pakistan.
She said that Khan's remarks showed a lack of understanding of the Foreign Service.
"There seems to be a woefully inadequate understanding of Embassies' consular work, the acute resource constraints, and the role of multiple departments which (are not) under the control of Ambassadors," she said.
Former foreign secretary Salman Bashir also joined Janjua in defending the Foreign Service of Pakistan (FSP).
"Sir respectfully, your ire and critique of the foreign ministry and envoys are misplaced. Usual services to the community are essential in the domain of other departments that handle passports and consular attestation etc. Yes, the missions should keep their doors open," he tweeted.
Bashir said that the FSP and the Foreign Office have always delivered and it deserves encouragement and support.
"Public critique demoralizes the best and brightest. Pakistan needs functional institutions. That is where we need to focus. Do set up a task force to come up with positive recommendations," he said.
Bashir was especially angry at Khan's appreciation of India foreign service for serving their nationals abroad.
"Indian media rejoices over PM's critique of the FSP and approbation of Indian Foreign Service. What a comparison!" tweeted Bashir.
Jalil Abbas Jilani, another former foreign secretary joined the chorus to oppose Khan's remarks.
"Hon PM sir, wish you were properly briefed about working of Missions. Services like attestation of degrees, marriage certificates, licenses etc are referred to HEC (Higher Education Commission), Interior or Provincial government for verification. You don't get a timely response. Hence delays. Blaming envoys unfair," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Dawn newspaper reported that the prime minister's comments led to angst and demoralization among the officers of the foreign service.