Right choices for UN, US missions

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PAKISTAN’S significant diplomatic achievements at the United Nations are reaffirmation of the fact that right choice

makes a real difference as Munir Akram, true to the track record of his entire professional career, strongly defended the cause of the country in the face of various odds.

And the Government really deserves credit for its wise decision to appoint another highly distinguished diplomat of the country – Masood Khan – as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that about half of the battle to safeguard national interests of the country is fought, directly or indirectly, from the multilateral forum of the UN at New York and the US capital Washington and therefore, who represents Pakistan at these two places matters much for the country.

Ambassador Munir Akram has vast and varied experience of the UN system as he first served as Pakistan permanent envoy to UNO’s Geneva Office from 1995 to 2002 before being appointed as permanent representative at New York where he played a long but memorable innings.

It was because of his impeccable career and dignified representation of the country that he has been re-hired after superannuation and a bird’s eye view of his performance during the last year would show that he lived up to the expectation of the policy and decision makers because of his hard work, dedication and rich experience.

Under his dynamic leadership, Pakistan’s UN Mission missed no opportunity to effectively raise a voice against India’s military siege, illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, and massive human rights violations.

In his New Year message, he rightly pointed out that the Mission continued to make the legal, political and moral case for Kashmiris’ freedom struggle as under international law they have the right to resist, with all means at their disposal, and attain their inalienable right to self-determination.

In another accomplishment, Pakistan successfully concluded its presidency of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), having also adopted the Ministerial Declaration of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) by consensus – an indication of convergence on the global recovery and SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) agenda.

Pakistan has been elected as Chairman of Group of 77 at the UN for the year 2022 and Munir Akram has drawn exhaustive plans for the year to aggressively work for causes of G-77 like debt restructuring, redistribution of the 650 billion new SDRs to developing countries, larger concessional financing, mobilization of the $100 billion in annual climate finance by the developed countries, ending the billions in illicit financial flows from the developing countries and the return of their stolen assets and the creation of an equitable and open trading system and a fair international tax regime.

The Pakistan Mission in New York also strongly raised issues like Islamophobia, selective and discriminatory definition of terrorism, Pakistan’s role in UN peacekeeping efforts and humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan.

As for Washington, it is a matter of satisfaction that at a time when Pakistan’s relations with the United States are uneven and there is a dire need to streamline them, the country has decided to send Masood Khan to the US capital for the onerous responsibility to safeguard and promote interests of the country in the fast changing regional and global situation.

The nature of the existing bilateral relationship has amply been highlighted by Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin, who acknowledged in an interview that Pakistan is facing tough conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under influence of the United States.

The complexity of the relationship is also evident from differences of perception and approach to the emerging situation in Afghanistan and opposition of Washington to the otherwise purely economic initiative of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

However, diplomatic circles are expressing the view that things would change for the better once Masood Khan assumes charge of his new assignment as he has diversified experience to deal with challenges in the diplomatic arena.

The relevance and significance of this selection for Washington is also explained by the nervousness shown by the Indian media after the announcement that Masood Khan would represent Pakistan in the United States.

Be it Kashmir, sensitivities of Pakistan-India relations, Afghanistan, Pakistan’s nuclear programme or Pakistan’s friendship with China, Masood Khan has fuller understanding of the intricacies involved and is endowed with the qualities of head and hart to deliver as he successfully proved during his professional tenure in Geneva and Beijing as well as in his capacity as President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

There are reasons to believe that harmonious working of the two top class professionals would bring visible diplomatic dividends for the country.

 

 

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