ISLAMABAD - Grade 17-19 officers at the foreign ministry are going through an unprecedented mental stress as their postings have been put on hold since April, insiders said yesterday.

An official at the foreign ministry told The Nation on the condition of anonymity that the administration was delaying this year's posting plan. “More than 35 officers are waiting since last 4 months. Along with Covid-19 this is an added stress. Ambassadors plan has been announced while juniors have been kept in waiting,” he said.

The official said with the ambassadors’ plan announced and other officers plan being put on hold for months “there's a general belief that senior officials have been given special favour.”

“We were first told that once the flights resume in June it will be announced. Then they said, it will be immediately announced after Ambassadors posting plan. But it's been a month and they are not announcing it,” he lamented.

Last month, several transfers and postings at the foreign ministry and missions abroad were announced for senior diplomats.

Under the plan, Special Secretary Moazam Ahmad Khan has been appointed as the new High Commissioner to the UK; Additional Secretary (Americas) Aftab Khokhar to Vienna, Ambassador Moinul Haq to Beijing; SS Zahoor Ahmad to Sweden and Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi Hyder Shah as Ambassador in Nepal.

Mazhar Javed, the outgoing ambassador to Nepal, will move to South Africa, Sajid Bilal was posted to Cairo, Mohammad Hassan will move from Tunisia to Jakarta, Bilal Hayee to Baku and Shozab Abass to Ethiopia.

Pakistan also appointed Mansoor Ahmad Khan as the country’s new ambassador to Afghanistan. Khan will replace Ambassador Zahid Nasrullah Khan, who has been posted as Pakistan’s ambassador to Cambodia.

Khan is currently the Ambassador of Pakistan to Austria with concurrent accreditation of Slovakia. He is also Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN and other International Organizations based in Austria since July 2018.

Another official at the foreign ministry said the ongoing tenures will end in August. “Usually they announce it by April but this year it is late which is unprecedented. Most of the junior officers feel demotivated and depressed,” he added.