ISLAMABAD - Pakistan will have no foreign minister even after Senate polls as the PML-N government has failed to award tickets to potential candidates including Sartaj Aziz for Senate elections before picking up a name for the portfolio.

Federal Minister for Planning, Reforms and Development Ahsan Iqbal told Online on Sunday that Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was already enjoying the status of a federal minister in the Parliament. However, many in the political circle were sceptical of the PML-N leadership's decision of not having a full foreign minister and maintaining the status quo.

Many in the ruling party were also expecting that the party leadership will award tickets to Aziz and Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi before picking one of them for the portfolio but their presumptions contradicted the ground realities.

Politicians and diplomats as well as persons who have experience in administering Pakistan's foreign affairs expressed their astonishment over the government's lack of seriousness to run the matters of Foreign Ministry with a full-fledged Foreign Minister.

Former foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad told Online that a foreign minister is essential for any country as it conveys to the world as how the government is serious about its foreign affairs.

Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Haji Adeel said that the government's method of running affairs was strange as the portfolio of the Foreign Ministry was being run on an adhoc basis. He said there was huge difference between an adviser and a foreign minister, as according to him, adviser can never take decisions on his own.

However, Ahsan Iqbal claimed that the position of a foreign minister or adviser was same having same functions. "Only names are different that doesn't matter," he said.

At the movement, Aziz is looking after the affairs of the Foreign Ministry but Fatemi is also advising the prime minister on matters of foreign affairs and differences of opinion between the two on certain matters is an open secret.

Fatemi, who publicly supports Aziz, when asked about criticism and the way the government was running the foreign ministry, he said, "We all support Aziz in matters of foreign affairs and consultation often takes place."

A serving diplomat on the condition of anonymity said that they were expecting that either Fatemi or Aziz would be made a permanent foreign minister after Senate elections but it seems the government has maintained the status quo.