A decision by Pakistan to appoint a former diplomat as its ambassador to the United Nations has sparked criticism over his alleged involvement in a domestic violence dispute in 2002.

Munir Akram will replace Ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi as the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations. Akram had the same position from 2002-2008, during the government of military dictator Pervez Musharraf.

In 2003 however, the United States asked Pakistan to waive Akram's diplomatic immunity so that he could face a criminal prosecution for domestic battery charges and physical abuse. 

According to a New York Times report, Akram, who was 57 in 2002, was accused of smashing his then-girlfriend's head into a wall as she attempted to leave their residence following a domestic dispute. This woman, who was an American citizen, also told police officials that Akram had been physically abusive with her over the period of their relationship, and felt wary of contacting police authorities on account of his diplomatic immunity.  

His return to the post has been met with outrage on Twitter, with many shocked that a man from Pervez Musharraf's government and with what is being called a "messy" background has been selected to represent Pakistan in this trying time for the country and Kashmir.

Akram is also aged for the position, now in his 70s. His aggressive approach to India, however, has been considered by some to mean a change in Pakistan's diplomatic policy towards Indian aggressions in Kashmir. Akram also believes Pakistan should try to emulate North Korea in the way it boasts of its nuclear capabilities, implying that such tactics are likely to intimidate rivals and keep international forces on edge.

Although the widely respected Lodhi has said she intended to leave the office after the United Nations General Assembly, the government has not elaborated on its choice of diplomat or why it let go of Dr Lodhi, who was thought to have been successful in her stint as the permanent representative.