ISLAMABAD: The Association of Former Ambassadors on Wednesday expressed regret over the manner in which “personal differences” between two senior diplomats made it to the public eye, saying such episodes clearly “add to the difficulties of the foreign office”.
The statement from the Association of Former Ambassadors came a day after a letter written by Abdul Basit, a former high commissioner to India, was leaked on social media. The letter is a scathing criticism of Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, the incumbent Pakistani ambassador to the US, over his performance as foreign secretary and during his current ambassadorship.
In the letter dated July 5, 2017, Basit declared Chaudhary to be unfit for the “delicate diplomatic job” of ambassador to the US, saying he was the worst-ever foreign secretary of Pakistan. The recently-retired high commissioner blamed the former foreign secretary for the debacles in Ufa and Pakistan’s failure to win reelection to the UN Human Rights Council in 2015.
He then went on to add that Chahdury should be immediately removed from his posting in the US given his “weak and dubious credentials”.
Leaked letter shows all is not well at Foreign Office
A day after the letter went viral, Ambassador Chaudhry issued a statement to embassy staff in which he said he had decided not to respond to the “disgusting” letter and leave the matter to God.
“I’ve decided not to respond to this disgusting letter, and leave the matter to the One and Only who matters. May Allah be our Protector and Guide,” Chaudhry told embassy staff in Washington on Wednesday.
While the diplomat chose not to comment on the contents of the letter, he did, however, say the communiqué was “too rude and uncalled for”.
“[Abdul Basit] wrongly thinks that he could not reach the post of foreign secretary because of me. He has since retired. Jealousy has no remedy,” he said, adding that he also prayed for God to help Basit mend his ways.
Chaudhry went on to say that he served his country to the best of his abilities but some people failed to realise that “life is a combination of human endeavour and fate”. We have to accept, in humility, what life gives us and then thank the Creator for it. Mischief-mongering and mudslinging never pay in the larger scheme of things.”
The foreign office, however, kept mum over the controversy and only issued the statement from the Association of Former Ambassadors, tacitly showing solidarity with Chaudhry.
“The members of Association of Former Ambassadors have noted with regret the unfortunate episode relating to a letter attributed to our former high commissioner in New Delhi,” the statement said.
“The contents of the letter appear to have been prompted by personal differences between two officers. The language and tone of the letter were upsetting and the members were of the view that it should not have been written or made public,” the statement added.
Such episodes, it said, clearly add to the difficulties of the Foreign Office, which is faced with so many challenges in the region and globally.
“We wish to express our solidarity with you and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has performed admirably in dealing with challenges confronting Pakistan in an extremely difficult global environment,” reads the letter.
“We greatly appreciate and stand in solidarity with the members of the Foreign Office at headquarters and in Pakistan’s missions abroad in carrying out their onerous responsibilities,” it adds.
The letter ends by expressing confidence that this episode will not detract the Chaudhry or the Foreign Office from their responsibilities. “We must all work together to enhance the capacity and protect the integrity of our institution, which we have served with great pride in our lifelong commitment to our beloved country.”