Srinagar: The Pakistan government has approved the appointment of Sohail Mahmood as Pakistan’s next high commissioner to India, according to media reports on Monday. Mahmood is a top diplomat of Pakistan and will replace the incumbent envoy to India Abdul Basit this month.
Mahmood joined Pakistan’s foreign service in 1985. He is a career diplomat. A Pakistan government source had told a newspaper in February, “Mahmood is a senior diplomat who has handled high-pressure responsibilities, and can do this job well.”
Mahmood served as Islamabad’s envoy to Turkey from 1991-1994 for the first time, the report said. He served in various Pakistan missions abroad, including Washington, New York after that, the report said, adding that he worked as Pakistans Ambassador to Thailand from 2009-2013.
Mahmood, though, hasn’t served in India before. But it has hardly been a criterion for selecting Pakistan’s envoy to India — neither Basit nor his predecessors, Salman Bashir and Shahid Malik, served in India before being posted as the high commissioner here, the report added.
Besides Mahmood, Afrasiab Mehdi Qureshi (currently High Commissioner to New Zealand), Iftikhar Aziz (Additional Foreign Secretary for Administration in headquarters), Tasnim Aslam (Additional Foreign Secretary for UN Affairs), Farrukh Amil (Ambassador to Japan) and Syed Ibrar Hussain (Ambassador to Afghanistan) were among the other contenders for the New Delhi position, the report added.