ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has appointed his Special Assistant on National Security Moeed Yusuf as the country's National Security Adviser (NSA).
Yusuf's elevation comes in the backdrop of the reported backchannel communication with India early this year, resulting in the restoration of the 2003 ceasefire agreement on the Line of Control in February.
A notification dated May 17 was issued by the Cabinet Division to appoint Yusuf as the NSA.
"The Prime Minister has been pleased to approve that Dr Moeed W Yusuf, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security and Strategic Policy Planning, shall function as National Security Adviser with the status of Federal Minister, with immediate effect, the notification read.
Last month, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry was asked by several journalists about reported backchannel talks with India.
Instead of outright rejection, he said: States have their ways and means to communicate which remain available even during wars. Therefore, whether any talks are taking place between India and Pakistan is not important
In New Delhi, asked about the media reports that backchannel talks between India and Pakistan were going on for more than a year, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi did not give a direct reply.
If you talk about channels of communication on this issue, let me just recall that our respective high commissions exist and are functioning. So that is a very effective channel of communication, Bagchi said last month.
India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.
India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.
Yusuf was appointed as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning and was given the status of Minister of State on December 24, 2019.
He is an academic with experience of working at various think tanks in the US.
He served as the associate vice president at the Asia Center at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and a research fellow at the Frederick S Padree Centre at Boston University.
He is also the author of Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: US Crisis Management in South Asia.
Earlier, he did Ph.D in Political Science from Boston University.