ISLAMABAD - The Association of Former Ambassadors (AFA) on Wednesday said the differences between two senior officers of the foreign ministry – Abdul Basit and Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry - should not have been made public.

In a message addressed to the foreign ministry, the association said: “The members of [the] Association of Former Ambassadors [AFA] have noted with regret the unfortunate episode relating to a letter attributed to our former high commissioner in New Delhi [Abdul Basit]. The contents of the letter appear to have been prompted by personal differences between two officers of the Foreign Service. The language and tone of the letter was upsetting and the members were of the view that it should not have been written or made public.”

It added: “Such episodes clearly add to the difficulties of the Foreign Office, which is faced with so many challenges in the region and globally. We wish to express our solidarity with you and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has performed admirably in dealing with challenges confronting Pakistan in an extremely difficult global environment.”

The association said: “We greatly appreciate and stand in solidarity with the members of the Foreign Office at the headquarters and in Pakistan’s missions abroad in carrying out their onerous responsibilities.”

The AFA further said: “We are confident that this episode will not detract you and the Foreign Office from your primary responsibility. We must all work together to enhance the capacity and protect the integrity of our institution, which we have served with great pride in our lifelong commitment to our beloved country.”

Earlier, Abdul Basit – former Pakistan High Commissioner to India - launched a scathing attack on his former boss Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry - the incumbent Pakistan ambassador to the United States - terming him the “worst foreign secretary ever.”

In a letter addressed to Chaudhry, Basit criticised his policies and predicted that he would also prove to be the worst ambassador to the US.

The letter surfaced online and the foreign ministry officials later confirmed that it was authentic.

“The more I think the more I am convinced that you have been the worst foreign secretary ever,” he wrote in the letter.  Basit was replaced after opting for an early retirement earlier this month by Sohail Mahmood in India and had allegedly written the letter in response to Chaudhry's farewell letter after his appointment as the ambassador to the US.

The former envoy contended that Chaudhry was not made for the “delicate profession of diplomacy”.

He cited two incidents as examples - the joint statement issued after a meeting in the Russian city of Ufa between now ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in 2015, and Pakistan's failure to get re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Last month, then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had approved early retirement request by Abdul Basit as the senior diplomat ostensibly was not ready to work under his junior - Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua - who was elevated to the top bureaucratic slot in March.

Basit never gave any reason for early retirement but it was evident he was annoyed over the government’s decision to supersede him.