PM Khan’s televised address ill received, President AFA pens letter to show disappointment

President of the Association of Former Ambassadors, Mr. Inam ul Haque has responded to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comparison of the Pakistan Foreign Office service with that of a neighboring country.

The letter addressed to PM Khan, received exclusively by Baaghi TV, highlights that Pakistan’s Embassies abroad “operate in a difficult international environment to project a positive image of Pakistan in their host countries, advance national interests, promote political, economic and commercial ties, [and] enhance defence cooperation”.

Mr. Inam ul Haque has stressed that the Association of Former Ambassadors (AFA), who have had the honour of serving as Ambassadors for Pakistan, have noted the “public castigation” in a televised address by the Prime Minister. President AFA highlighted that the public reprimand has been ill received and has served to advocate a lack of understanding of the work pertaining to diplomatic missions that the Foreign Officers perform despite major constraints. He stressed that to “denounce an entire Institution, without a proper and impartial investigation, is unconscionable”.

Addressing the Prime Minister, President AFA stated that from approximately 500 serving officers, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nearly 180 are stationed at the Foreign Office in Islamabad meanwhile, the rest are posted abroad actively lending their services to around 120 Missions.

Mr. Inam ul Haque further stressed in the letter that Pakistanis working abroad are a valuable asset and a source of remittances for Pakistan and deserve proper “respect, care and compassion from our Missions abroad in resolving their problems”.

Moreover, he stressed that the Prime Minister’s emphasis towards promoting a desirable image of Pakistan particularly with focus as a desirable investment destination though laudable, is yet unfulfilled because Pakistan continues to rank at the 108th position. Mr. Inam ul Haque argued that “We need to address the internal issues which deter foreign investors from bringing their money, expertise and technology into Pakistan. We also lack diversity, quality and exportable surpluses so necessary to promote exports”.

Speaking with regards to PM Khan’s televised address, he remarked that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the few institutions that maintains a high standard of “output despite manpower and financial limitations”. The letter continued to highlight that given the situation, the Prime Ministers’ message has come as a shock that has served to demoralize the officers posted at home and abroad. Mr. Inam ul Haque argued that the PM could have given the message in a more positive manner and encouraged the Foreign Officers to improve their performance “instead of subjecting them to unfair and public rebuke”.

He went on to add that the PM could instead have employed the services of the Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, to convey these directions for the welfare of Pakistani expatriates while persuading foreign investors to consider Pakistan as an investment destination.

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