Major reshuffle in diplomatic assignments aboard on cards; new Pakistan envoys in Washington, London proposed: FM


ISLAMABAD, Oct 26 (APP):Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Friday announced major reshuffle in the diplomatic assignments abroad, including the proposed appointments of two career diplomats Dr Asad Majeed Khan and Nafees Zekria as Pakistan’s new ambassador and high commissioner in Washington and London respectively.
Addressing a press conference here, the Foreign Minister said the appointments of career diplomats as new Pakistani envoys at Washington (USA), London (UK), Ottawa (Canada), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Doha (Qatar), Rabat (Morocco), Belgrade (Serbia), Havana (Cuba) and Dubai (UAE) were being proposed after detailed discussion with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He said the decision of reshuffle was aimed at replacing some political appointees and assigning the senior and career diplomats so that they could safeguard Pakistan’s interests and present the country’s point of view on various issues in a more effective manner.
Giving the details of proposed appointments, the Foreign Minister said Raza Bashir Tarar would be appointed High Commissioner Ottawa, Raja Ali Aijaz Ambassador in Riyadh, Syed Ahsan Raza Shah Ambassador in Doha, Hamid Asghar Khan Ambassador in Belgrade, Sahibzada Ahmad Khan Ambassador in Havana, and Ahmad Amjad Ali Consul General in Dubai.
To a question about the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, the Foreign Minister said Pakistan and China enjoy broad-based, deep-rooted and strategic relations and these were not limited to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) alone.
He said during the visit, the Prime Minister would hold bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, besides visiting Shanghai to represent Pakistan at the International Expo being hosted by China and attended by various countries.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was among the leaders invited by China as special guests, would deliver a key-note address at the International Expo.
He hoped that the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China would further strengthen the already existing close and strategic ties between the two countries.
The Foreign Minister also briefed media-persons about the discussions made with the visiting high-level UAE delegation comprising CEOs/senior officials of major companies, including Mobadla Petroleum, ADIA (Sovereign Wealth Funds), Etisalat, DP World, Dubai Investment Authority, Emaar Company, Aldahra Agriculture and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
He said the delegation headed by Dr. Sultan Aljaber, Minister of State and CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), was on a one-day visit to Pakistan, at his invitation.
The visit is a follow up of the Prime Minister’s official visit to Abu Dhabi on September 19 and his understanding with Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to forge closer economic, trade and investment relations between the two countries in all areas of common interest, he added.
The Foreign Minister said with 1.6 million Pakistani expatriates in the UAE besides playing its role in the UAE’s development was contributing a lot for their homeland by sending $ 4.3 billion annually as remittances.
He said during the discussions today the two sides deliberated on the ways and means to further broaden and deepen the economic relations in diverse areas of mutual benefit between Pakistan and the UAE, who enjoy strong historic political ties.
The Foreign Minister said the areas identified for cooperation were agriculture, agricultural exports, fruit and vegetables, food processing industry, energy, housing, water etc.
He said as Pakistan’s rice exports to UAE had decreased over the past few years, as compared to India, there was a need to correct this situation and the two sides discussed the ways and means in that respect.
The Foreign Minister said the Pakistani fruit and vegetables, particularly citrus and mangoes were available in high quality and quantity and could be exported. Now these were wasted due to short shelf-life and inadequate storage facilities, he added.
He said with the UAE having quality packing expertise could invest in Pakistan’s food processing industry for onward exports of country’s perishable food items for mutual benefit of the two countries.
The Foreign Minister said in the energy sector the UAE side expressed its interest in the establishment of an oil refinery as well as a state-of-the-art energy terminal in Pakistan, which could serve as a hub of energy in the region.
He said the two sides also discussed how the UAE could facilitate Pakistan like Saudi Arabia for the supply of oil through a preferential treatment and help the country to meet its high fiscal needs.
The Foreign Minister said the two sides also discussed how the UAE companies could contribute in the successful implementation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative of launching five million housing project for the low income groups in Pakistan, and to be completed over the next five years.
He said since the UAE had acquired modern technology and expertise in desalination of sea water over the last few years, the two sides deliberated on the ways and means for cooperation in this area to specially meet the water requirements of Karachi and Gwadar.
The Foreign Minister said Pakistan and the UAE also discussed visa restrictions for Pakistan manpower and agreed to revisit the regime for betterment.
He said the meeting between Pakistan and the UAE delegation remained positive, fruitful and productive and hoped it would further help strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation for mutual benefit of the two countries.