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 twodozen ambassadors in various countries including India, China and Japan.
Haq, in his mid-fifties is the current ambassador to France. He haspreviously served as chief of protocol at the Foreign Office. He joined ForeignService of Pakistan in 1987 and was posted in countries like Turkey, Canada andSri Lanka.
The post of High Commissioner to India fell vacant after Sohail Mehmoodwas appointed Pakistan's new foreign secretary in April.
The decision came after a detailed meeting with Prime Minister Khan, whoformally approved the new appointments, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshisaid in a video message on Monday night.
Qureshi said, "New Delhi, India, is very important…Afterconsultation I have decided to appoint Moin-ul-Haq, the current ambassador inFrance, 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 waspossible that after the elections a new process of engagement could start. Theresults of India's general election would be announced on May 23.
The relationship between the two neighbouring nations currently is atall-time low after a Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomberattacked a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 thatkilled 40 soldiers.
Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out anoperation, hitting what it said was a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep insidePakistan on February 26.
The next day, the PAF retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combatand captured an IAF pilot, who was later released and handed over to India onMarch 1.
Qureshi expressed hope that Haq would perform his new job with best ofhis abilities.
Since assuming the office in August last year, Prime Minister Khanrepeatedly reached out to India for the resumption of peace talks on alloutstanding issues. But India has made it clear to Pakistan that terrorism anddialogue will not go hand-in-hand.
Confirming other major appointments, the foreign minister said NaghmanaHashmi, career diplomat, is being sent to China, which is "veryimportant" country for Pakistan.
She will replace Masood Khalid, the incumbent envoy to China, aftercompletion of his tenure.
Additional Secretary Imtiaz Ahmad was appointed ambassador to Japan whileZaheer Janjua, currently serving as additional secretary to Europe, was sent toPakistani mission in Brussels.
Additional Secretary Amina Baloch was appointed Ambassador in Malaysia,Javed Khattak in Portugal, Saqlain Sayeda in Kenya, Rukhsana Afzal inSingapore, Khalid Jamali in Czech Republic and Ataul Munim in Algeria.
Sarfaraz Ahmad appointed as ambassador to Sudan, Imran Haider wasappointed as ambassador in Tajikistan, Major General Abdul Aziz Tariq in Bruneiand Major General Muhammad Khalid Rao in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Qureshi said council generals appointed included Khalid Majeed in Jeddah,Ayesha Abbas Khan in New York.
Ambassador in Kuwait Ghulam Dastagir will replace Muazzam Ali Khan in AbuDhabi, while Qazi Khalilullah, serving as ambassador in Russia, was being givenan extension of six months.
Qureshi hoped that the newly-appointed ambassadors and consul generalswill play a pivotal in promoting the soft image of Pakistan and will adopt thebest behaviour with Pakistani community living abroad.