New Delhi: Pakistan has appointed its envoy to France Moin ul Haque as its next High Commissioner to India after former envoy Sohail Mahmood took charge as the country’s foreign secretary.
In an announcement late Monday over appointments of new envoys for 18 countries, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted, “After consulting the Prime Minister I am happy to announce following appointments. I wish the newly appointed officers good luck & hope they represent Pakistan with utmost dignity and effectiveness.”
After consulting the Prime Minister, I am happy to announce following appointments. I wish the newly appointed officers good luck & hope they represent Pakistan with utmost dignity and effectiveness. pic.twitter.com/twHHYH1z3f
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) May 20, 2019
Diplomatic sources confirmed to ThePrint that Haque’s appointment was a “last-minute decision”.
Haque’s name was chosen as the Pakistan government was keen to appoint someone who has an expertise in UN-related matters and someone who is from a “non-military background”, said the sources.
First and foremost, he has been entrusted with the agenda of de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan and “create a conducive environment for talks”, said the sources.
The appointment of Haque, who is not expected to take up the position before July, comes at a time when India and Pakistan have not had any official-level dialogue for over two years as the Modi government has maintained that “terror and talks” cannot go together.
Tensions between the two countries rose to a near war-like situation in February after 40 Indian security personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in an attack carried out by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
In response, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out air strikes against JeM camps in the Balakot region in Pakistan on 26 February. Pakistan retaliated the very next day and captured an IAF pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, who was released a day later.
At the time, Haque had tweeted, “PM Imran Khan announces release of Indian pilot as a gesture of goodwill. Noting that poverty in India and Pakistan can only be eradicated in an environment of peace and stability, he again urged the Indian leaders to resolve issues through peaceful talks.”
PMImran Khan announces release of Indian pilot as a gesture of goodwill. Noting that poverty in India and Pakistan can only be eradicated in an environment of peace and stability, he again urged the Indian leaders to resolve issues through peaceful talks. https://t.co/V9jQIy219j
— Moin ul Haque (@PakAmbChina) February 28, 2019
Haque is regarded as a veteran diplomat having served in the UN. While he has never served in any diplomatic position in India, he has worked both in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.