ISLAMABAD - Retired military generals, including some of those who had helped General (r) Pervez Musharraf during 1999 coup, continue to have major share in the quota of non-career diplomats by enjoying ambassadorial assignments.

Official documents reveal that Pakistan is represented by 13 such envoys that do not belong to Foreign Service and eight of the ambassadors are retired military generals.

The latest such induction came when Lt-Gen (r) Muhammad Yousaf Khan was appointed as ambassador to Bosnia Herzegovina on July 3 last year, thus jacking up the number of retired military generals to eight who have been given the coveted assignments of ambassadors/high commissioners abroad.

General Khan was Corps Commander Multan during 1999 military coup that overthrew the then Nawaz Sharif regime. In September 2000, he was posted as Chief of General Staff (CGS). It is believed that a military coup against a government cannot be launched without tacit approval of the Chief of General Staff.

Lt-Gen (r) Ahsan Azhar Hayat is another non-career diplomat who represents Pakistan in Jordon. Hayat served as Commander V Corps (Victory Corps) Sindh from April 2006 to October 2010. Former Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt-Gen (r) Zaheerul Islam had also served as Commander V Corps from 2010 to 2012.

Career diplomats in Foreign Office, according to an official, have been opposed to political appointments on ambassadorial positions. In the past, he said, some officers had moved court over the issue.

Lt-Gen (r) Javed Zia is Pakistan’s ambassador to Libya since February 26 last year on the quota of non-career diplomats. His career in military service includes important positions including Corps Commander Quetta and Commander Southern Command.

Similarly, Maj-Gen (r) Qasim Qureshi is Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka since 2013. He held various important assignments during his military career including Commander Infantry Brigade in Azad Kashmir between 1998-2000, Chief of Staff, Army Strategic Force Command in 2000-2001, Director Operations and Plans at Strategic Plans Division in 2003-4, Commander Infantry Division from 2004 to 2006, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Punjab DG in 2006-07, and Operations and Plans DG at Joint Staff Headquarters in 2008-9.

Maj-Gen (r) Wajahat Ali Muftee, who has served as Human Resource Department DG at GHQ, is currently passing his post-retirement life as ambassador to Ukraine since 2013 on quota of non-career diplomats. Lt-Gen (r) Muhammad Ashraf Saleem who served as Commander Army Air Defence Command during October 2006 - April 2010, is currently Pakistan High Commissioner to Nigeria. Maj-Gen (r) Ulfat Hussain, former Military Land and Revenue DG, is presently ambassador to Mauritius while Brig (r) Muhammad Zareef is ambassador to Brunei Darussalam.

Prominent among those who do not have military background yet hold ambassadorial positions on quota of non-career diplomats are: Dr Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to United Nations (UN), Jalil Abbas Jilani, Ambassador to the United States (US), Zamir Akram, Ambassador UN (New York), Shahzad Ahmed, Ambassador to Qatar and Rafat Mehdi, Ambassador to Spain.