Pak appoints Moin-ul-Haq as India's new envoy to 'restart process of engagement'

Career diplomat Moin-ul-Haq has been appointed as Pakistan’s new  High Commissioner to India to start a new process of engagement with the country where a new government will be formed soon, amid strained relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday approved appointments of over two dozen ambassadors in various countries including India, China and Japan.

Haq, in his mid-fifties is the current ambassador to France. He has previously served as chief of protocol at the Foreign Office. He joined Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1987 and was posted in countries like Turkey, Canada and Sri Lanka.

The post of High Commissioner to India fell vacant after Sohail Mehmood was appointed Pakistan’s new foreign secretary in April. The decision came after a detailed meeting with Prime Minister Khan, who formally approved the new appointments, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a video message on Monday night.

Qureshi said, “New Delhi, India, is very important…After consultation I have decided to appoint Moin-ul-Haq, the current ambassador in France, who will be sent to Delhi, and I hope that he (Haq) will deliver.”

Qureshi said that Indian elections were coming to an end and it was possible that after the elections a new process of engagement could start. The results of India’s general election would be announced on May 23.

The relationship between the two neighbouring nations currently is at all-time low after a Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber attacked a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14 that killed 40 soldiers.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-operation, hitting what it said was a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, the PAF retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was later released and handed over to India on March 1. PTI