• Wednesday, October 05, 2022

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Imran Khan’s comments irk Pakistan’s foreign officials, former diplomats

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan. (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Sarwar Alam

By Chandrashekar Bhat

PAKISTAN prime minister Imran Khan’s “caustic comments” about the functioning of the country’s ambassadorial offices abroad have not gone down well with some current and former diplomats.

At a virtual meeting with Pakistan’s envoys on Thursday (6), Khan said officials of its embassies were “indifferent” to the needs of the country’s diaspora and that they showed a “colonial attitude”. The meeting was held after Islamabad recalled its ambassador from Saudi Arabia last week along with six other officials following complaints of “mistreatment” of Pakistanis working in the kingdom.

While serving officials anonymously said they were criticised for the matters beyond their control, former envoys were vocal in highlighting the structural problems in the functioning of the embassies of the country.

Dawn quoted foreign service officers as saying the prime minister’s own presentation displayed his lack of understanding of the issues and that he solely relied on complaints while making the allegations instead of first studying them.

Foreign service officials were quoted as saying they were unfairly blamed, although several problems are related to institutions coming under the domain of the country’s ministry of interior and National Database and Registration Authority.

Former foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua tweeted: “Deeply dismayed at the unwarranted criticism of the Foreign Ministry. There seems to be woefully inadequate understanding of Embassies’ consular work, the acute resource constraints, and the role of multiple departments which [are] not under the control of Ambassadors.”

While admitting that problems do exist, there are also instances where its foreign officials came in for praise particularly for their work in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, the report said.

Eastern Eye

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