The US Secretary of State Pompeii is due to visit Pakistan to meet with PM IK. A loud and clear message must be given that elected PM speaks on behalf of people of Pakistan and all other institutions of state, including security establishment. For this our PM may meet Secretary of State in presence of Foreign Minister and Defense Minister, accompanied by their respective secretaries etc.
Protocol demands that Secretary of State holds talks with his counterpart in Pakistan and if he wants to meet with security establishment, the meeting must take place with delegation led by Defense Minister accompanied by army, navy and air-force chiefs.
There should be no haste in holding press conference by our Foreign Minister, which if necessary should be jointly addressed with US Secretary of State. Lessons should have been learnt from needless controversy raised when President Trump on assumption of office telephoned former PM Nawaz in what can be termed a routine diplomatic norm to establish contact and exchange pleasantries. Unfortunately our FO and PM Spokesman created hype, revealing details of telephonic conversation, which diplomatic norms require not to make public, unless there is mutual consent. A similar gaffe was repeated by present Foreign minister when Secretary of State telephoned our PM to congratulate him and FM thought it appropriate to talk about contents of conversation in a press conference. This was followed by a denial by State Department.
It would be advisable that those entrusted delicate task of handling foreign affairs, given nature of our problems, should adhere to established diplomatic norms which require diplomats to hear more with measured response and only go public in joint communiqués or press conference.
MALIK TARIQ ALI,
Lahore, August 26.