ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday approved appointment of Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry – the incumbent foreign secretary - as Pakistan’s new ambassador to the United States to replace Jalil Abbas Jilani in January, officials said.

Tehmina Janjua, Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations’ Geneva Mission, is likely to return to Islamabad as the new foreign secretary.

Officials said the government wanted to give  extension to Jilani  after January but he did not opt to take the offer.

“There will be some reshuffle after these appointments and postings. Tehmina Janjua is set to become foreign secretary. Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry’s name will be sent to Washington soon for their endorsement,” said an official.

Reports said Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit, Ambassador for China Masood Khalid and former ambassador to France Ghalib Iqbal were also considered for the foreign secretary’s slot.

The new Pakistan ambassador to US previously served as a political counselor in Pakistani embassy in the United States. He also represented the country in the United Nations for more than six years.  He was also the country’s ambassador to Netherlands from 2009-2012.

Tehmina Janjua is a former spokesperson of the foreign office and she also held different slots in missions abroad.

SAARC HAS SURVIVED, NOT TRIUMPHED: NAWAZ

Prime Minister Sharif said Pakistan was committed to the aims of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

In a message on the 31st anniversary of the SAARC and the 32nd SAARC Charter Day, he said: “We celebrate, today, the spirit with which our leaders, entrusted by the people, worked towards the culmination of the SAARC Charter, and the subsequent establishment of SAARC. More than three decades ago, they committed to engage in a collaborative regional effort, geared towards delivering on the promise of a better life for their people.”

While SAARC has, albeit survived, it has not triumphed as had been envisaged, falling behind on the commitments and the promises that we had set out to achieve: progress and prosperity for the common good of our people, he added.

He said: “We, in Pakistan, continue to believe in the viability of SAARC. We are convinced that only through adhering to the principles of sovereign equality and mutual respect among member states, we would be able to guide SAARC to our cherished goal of a prosperous and developed South Asian region.”

As its founding member, he said, Pakistan stood steadfastly by the principles of the SAARC Charter. “It was in manifestation of the same spirit that Pakistan had made all preparations for hosting the 19th SAARC Summit. However, the postponement of the Summit has deprived our people, once more, of the prospects of development, prosperity and regional cooperation,” he said.

The premier reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the objectives of SAARC and “our journey together towards achieving our shared objectives under its umbrella.”

“On behalf of the people and the Government of Pakistan, and that of my own, I wish to felicitate the SAARC member states and their citizens on the 31st Anniversary of the establishment of SAARC and the 32nd Anniversary of SAARC Charter Day,” he said.