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Masood Khan — Pakistan’s new envoy to US who called Modi govt ‘fascist’, Burhan Wani ‘hero’

Khan has earlier served as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, envoy to China, and Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies. He became president of PoK in 2016.

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New Delhi: Former president of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Masood Khan, has been named as Islamabad’s new ambassador to the US.

Earlier this month, the Pakistan Embassy in Washington received Khan’s nomination papers, replacing the current ambassador, Asad Majeed Khan, who has been serving in the position since January 2019. Khan’s predecessor nears the end of his three-year term and is expected to return to Islamabad by mid-2022.

In the past, Khan has served as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, ambassador to China, and Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, a think tank based in Islamabad that is funded by Pakistan’s foreign ministry. He also worked as a TV news anchor during the early stages of his career.

Khan’s appointment comes at a time when bilateral relations between Islamabad and Washington appear to be balancing on an edge, especially after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, Pakistan PM Imran Khan did not receive a call from Joe Biden following the inauguration of his presidency. Pakistan was also not invited to a planned leaders summit on climate change in April though India and Bangladesh were.

Following the fall of Kabul, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in September had said the US would be looking closer into “the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years” in Afghanistan.

Also read: India raises pitch against Pakistan, asks it to ‘vacate all areas under illegal occupation’

Who is Masood Khan

A native of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, 70-year-old Masood Khan was born in Rawalakot, the capital of Poonch district. He holds a Master’s degree in English.

He joined the foreign service in Pakistan in 1980 and went on to serve in various positions, such as spokesperson of the foreign ministry from 2003-2005, before becoming Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2005-2008. He also served as ambassador to China from 2008-2012 and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York from 2012-2015.

In 2016, he became the 27th president of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. In August this year, when his term was nearing an end, he described his five years in public office as “hectic and challenging but productive”, in an interview to Dawn.

“We have not yet been able to turn the Kashmir cause into an international civil rights movement. The freedom movement’s apparent cul-de-sac because of India’s colonial and irredentist occupation of the territory since August 2019 needs to be broken through,” he added.

Khan has also spoken favourably about the expansion of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Beijing’s role in bringing peace to Afghanistan. At an event in October, the career diplomat said China is vital to establishing peace in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the US troops.

‘Burhan Wani a hero, PM Modi like Hitler’

Khan has previously been quoted as comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Adolf Hitler, referring to the RSS and Modi government as “fascist“, praising the Pakistan-China relationship as well as condemning New Delhi’s passage of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and scrapping of special status in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Indian forces have been brutalising Kashmiris for decades which has left them the most traumatised people on earth,” the former ambassador once said.

He has been a strong advocate of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. In a special message on the death anniversary of militant leader Burhan Wani in July, Khan, while still the president of PoK, said: “The history of Kashmir will remain incomplete without the chapter of Burhan Wani because he is a hero and a glittering star of the liberation struggle which has been continuing for the last seven decades.”

A month later, Khan was quoted as comparing PM Modi to Hitler’s Nazism. Radio Pakistan reported that while talking to reporters, he said 220 million people of Pakistan and PoK are determined to jointly defeat “Narendra Modi’s Nazism” and that India has targeted Kashmiri people to deprive them of their culture, civilisation, history, and their language.

Also read: Allowing Indian wheat for Afghanistan, reopening Kartarpur. Is peace on Pakistan mind?


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