The government on Friday formally announced the appointment of foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States.
According to a statement issued by the foreign ministry, Jilani would take the charge in December 2013.
Jilani, who is a career diplomat, joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1979. During his career he has held a number of appointments in different diplomatic missions, as well as, in the foreign ministry in Islamabad.
He has replaced Sherry Rehman, who resigned after the PPP lost the May 11 elections. The post has been vacant since Rehman’s resignation on May 14, 2013. Prior to his latest appointment, Jilani has served as ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union. He has also interacted with Nato, which is headquartered at Brussels, on a regular basis.
Jilani’s other appointments include Director India (1992-1995), Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi (1999-2003) and South Asia and Saarc Director General (2003-2007). He also served as the foreign affairs spokesman for the government in the year 2005.
Before becoming ambassador to arguably the most powerful nation in the world, Jilani was serving as foreign secretary since March, 2012.
During his stay in New Delhi, Jilani was declared persona non grata by the Indian government which accused him of funnelling funds to separatist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
Although, the government has not officially confirmed the appointment of his successor, Pakistan’s current Envoy to Germany Abdul Basit will be the country’s new foreign secretary.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2013.
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