ISLAMABAD - Reshuffle is imminent in the foreign ministry after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Tehmina Janjua as the foreign secretary, officials at the foreign ministry said while talking to The Nation on Tuesday.

Janjua, who has become the first woman to take the top job at the foreign ministry, is currently serving as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

Once she vacates the office early next month, the government will send someone to replace her, resulting in a chain of vacancies at the ministry.

“There could be around 10 new appointments due to the reshuffle. The foreign ministry will make proposals and send it to the prime minister. The new appointments would be made soon,” a senior official at the foreign ministry said.

The official said that the other candidates for the position of foreign ministry’s secretary  —- High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Syed Ibne Abbas, Ambassador in China Masood Khalid and former ambassador to France Ghalib Iqbal could now get new jobs as part of the reshuffle.

He said that the appointment of the new foreign secretary was expected in January but it came in mid-February.

“You can expect the new appointments anytime but it can also take [some] time. Hopefully within a week, we will be done with the reshuffle,” he added.

Incumbent Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry will fly to Washington to replace Jalil Abbas Jilani as ambassador next month and he will be replaced by Tehmina Janjua back home.

Prime Minister Sharif is making key appointments in the foreign ministry with an aim to improve ties with the US and defuse tension with India.

Sharif is also under pressure to appoint a full-time foreign minister to deal with the diplomatic challenges.

Currently, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi are looking after the foreign ministry who Sharif keeps the ministerial portfolio with himself.

The immediate challenges for the top Pakistani diplomats are winning US President Donald Trump’s trust and mustering support against Indian aggression besides improving ties with the regional countries.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told The Nation, that it was up to the prime minister to make new appointments.

“The proposals will be sent from here [the foreign ministry] but the final decision will be taken by the prime minister. It is up to him to announce the appointments whenever he desires,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Director-General South Asia and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP  Singh and condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violation by the Indian occupation forces from 1055-1120 hrs, on February 13, along the Line of Control in Thub area [Bhimber Sector], resulting in the death of three soldiers.

The deliberate targeting of civilians and soldiers was indeed condemnable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws, said a foreign ministry statement.

“The director-general urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding; investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations; instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC,” it added.

Separately on Tuesday, Pakistan called upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from any step that undermines the prospects of regional peace and stability as the latest missile test is a violation of the UN Security Council Resolutions.

Pakistan has consistently supported a nuclear weapons-free Korean Peninsula, as agreed by all parties.

“It called upon the DPRK to refrain from actions, which run counter to the objective of reaching a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the issue within the framework of the Six Party Talks,” the foreign office said.

 

 

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