Shake-up in the Foreign Office

Published: February 18, 2011
Basit was appointed as Additional Secretary Foreign Affairs to the EU. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

Basit was appointed as Additional Secretary Foreign Affairs to the EU. PHOTO: FILE/AFP


Abdul Basit, the recently-removed Foreign Office spokesperson, could just be the first casualty of the diplomatic-cum-political row caused by detained US citizen Raymond Davis.

A major reshuffle is on the cards at the Foreign Office with secretary Salman Bashir likely to be replaced soon with Zamir Akram, currently serving as Pakistan’s ambassador in Geneva, according to well-placed sources.

The stance of both Bashir and Basit regarding Davis’ status is said to have annoyed the government, the source added.

During his last press briefing, Basit refuted claims by certain quarters of the media that the foreign ministry had communicated to the ministry of law that Davis enjoyed diplomatic immunity – saying that, in fact, Davis was not entitled to blanket immunity for gunning down two Pakistanis in Lahore.

Basit’s statement was in line with the stance taken by former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who has  now been isolated by the government.

Basit has been posted as the additional secretary Europe and in his place as the spokesperson comes Tehmina Janjua, a young officer.

Meanwhile, Salman Bashir is also said to be refusing to accept the government’s version on Davis’ immunity, the source explained.

The Additional Secretary for Americas Desk, Mohammad Naeem Khan, said to be Bashir’s blue-eyed officer, is also being shuffled and posted as the additional secretary administration. Alamgir Babar, Pakistan’s ambassador to Brazil, is expected to replace him.

Additional Secretary Administration Ishtiaq Indrabi, who was to assume responsibilities as the ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has been removed. He was said to be a close confidante of the former foreign minister.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Bahrain, Ikramullah, is likely to be appointed as the additional secretary foreign affairs in the prime minister’s secretariat. The present additional secretary Abdul Malik is about to leave for Australia to serve as the new high commissioner.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Feb 18, 2011 - 4:46AM

    we like him and his services to the nation and townRecommend

  • Babloo
    Feb 18, 2011 - 8:25AM

    Pakistan is a victim. Yes its a victim of its own vicious anti-USA propoganda, that the Pak state, its army and ISI through numerous agents in the media and its nominal civilian government, deliberately feeds its people. It serves a purpose. The Pak state, points to the rabid anti-US sentiments among the jihadi populace and asks US for billions of dollars to hold the anti-US sentiment from wrecking havoc. So the Pak state collects and pockets dollars from USA with the right hand, while feeding anti-US garbage to its populace with left hand. Its an arrangement that has worked perfectly for Pak so far. The near paralysis of the Pak government on the Davis issue is a product of that environment. There is a lesson for India here. If Pak can treat its master donor with such duplicity then what fait awaits India ?Recommend

  • Abdul Rauf khan
    Feb 18, 2011 - 8:55AM

    Is there any rice cooking in the foreign office of Pakistan after leaving Shah Mahmood Qureshi?Poor PPP government cant not bear the reality,originality in the Raymond Davis case then how they can face in the eyes of peoples of Pakistan.such karwa hota hai.Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 18, 2011 - 9:20AM

    Any one who will stand on the principles will be removed as Davis issue is more important than the survival of Pakistan.

    The Government need people like Fauzia Wahab who should say that Davis has done nothing and he has full diplomatic immunity. This is what US govenrment want to hear from the government as well as from people of Pakistan.

    Whether Pakistan remains on the world map or not, Davis should be set scot free at any cost by Government of Pakistan. That is why John Kerry came to Pakistan.

    We are a sold nation. Davis should be awarded capital punishment so that no other American on Pakistan’s soil should think and imagine to kill another Pakistani in future.

    Pakistan’s nation want Davis head.Recommend

  • Talha Masood
    Feb 18, 2011 - 9:38AM

    They dont want any independence in departments/institutions……yet they talk about a structure to “STRENGHTEN” institutions………such a pitty!!!!…


  • RizwanTKhan
    Feb 18, 2011 - 9:40AM

    finally some sensible and patriotic show by people in power. Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Feb 18, 2011 - 10:46AM

    I had already pointed earlier that there would be reshufle in the foreign ministry. Mr Zardari and his inner coterie are more concerned about their ”Safe Haven” assets than anything else. The so called Kerry-Lugar aid does not reach nor will it reach the ordinary masses. The only people
    who will suffer if aid is cut are those who would have failed to serve their masters. All these decades the Armed Forces have been forcing the highest Judiciary to bow to them and the result has been destructive. It is time the two Institutions join hands and bring sanity to the nation. In order to end corruption and nepotism we need to end feudalism and complete reforms
    of our political parties and their structures. Without these two reforms we will remain victims of
    mental repression.Recommend

  • Sad
    Feb 18, 2011 - 11:12AM

    It is shocking to see what’s happening against people who are taking the position everyone SHOULD be taking. Recommend

  • Ammar
    Feb 18, 2011 - 11:39AM

    Bravo! Another kudos to our “democratic” government. We’re a shining example to the world of how a “democratic” government should be!!Recommend

  • Clean Pakistan
    Feb 18, 2011 - 11:43AM

    Another political maneuver to please their master….

    What these political puppets forget is that the Pakistani nation is recording all their actions and are preparing mental charge sheets against them… I can’t wait for the next election!

    Ghayal kiya jab apno ne, to ghairon se gila kya karna… Recommend

  • Darkstar
    Feb 18, 2011 - 12:14PM

    Wouldn’t Shah Mahmood’s removal as Foreign Minister actually be considered the first casualty in the row concerning “Raymond Davis”?Recommend

  • ray
    Feb 18, 2011 - 9:56PM

    I agree with you 100%.
    Feeding anti US sentiments is refugee of all scoundrels, despots and killers all over the Muslim world two of whom have bit the dust but 18 to 19 still remain. We are hope Allah takes a pity on us and frees us from these blood suckers soon.
    Husni was a prime example of that. He pocketed billions but Egypt remains highly anti America because his media spent all its time talking about Zionists and imperialism of the USA and how if he left Islamists would take over as here it is expected that Taliban and Munawar Hasan are expected be elected to the highest office in no time as is alleged if got forbid our leaders were not allowed to fill up to the rim Swiss accounts of Gilani and Zardari.
    Unless some of among us take to do something concrete build a nation but don’t expect miracle from so called leaders because their priority are build kingdoms and empires for their families and nation building is not their responsibility. However, it is a fact that it is fact that Imran Khan and Edhi would lose and Sharifs and Zardaris would be in power again because money and illiteracy talks.
    I see no hope of betterment from Mubaraks, Khalifas, Ghadais of the World.Recommend

  • blithe
    Feb 18, 2011 - 11:56PM

    Why can’t we maintain independence of istitutions???
    This is the problem with PPP and poltical apointess.

    US also has problems dealing with independent insitutions. They would always prefer malleable dictators , like Mushand Mubrak to deal with.

    But this part of the world is changing. USA needs to get with the program, Recommend

  • Feb 19, 2011 - 12:09PM

    The PPP proudly strutted to power on Shaheed Benazir’s sympathy wave. Crowing like a proud rooster the word “reconciliation”, to sadly remain unutilized. They have shown us and other interested citizens of the world how to do forward, backward and circuitious somersaults something that only trapeze artists can do.

    To quote: “When the world pushes you to your knees you are in the perfect position to pray…Anonymous.” Salams for 2011 and ever. Recommend

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