A scathing letter allegedly written by Abdul Basit, former Pakistan envoy to India, to Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Islamabad’s current ambassador to the US, has surfaced online, in which Basit has criticized the latter’s tenure as Foreign Secretary as “the worst ever”, according to Dawn News.
“The more I think the more I am convinced that you have been the worst Foreign Secretary ever,” Basit wrote in the letter, dated July 5, 2017, a copy of which has been circulating on social media.
Sources in the Foreign Office confirmed to DawnNews that the letter is authentic.
Basit preferred to take early retirement after he reportedly lost out as Foreign Secretary to Tehmina Janjua and as Pakistan’s envoy to the US to Chaudhry. He was replaced earlier this month by Sohail Mahmood, who has taken over as High Commissioner to India.
Basit had written the acerbic letter in response to Chaudhry’s farewell letter which he wrote after being appointed the ambassador to the United States.
Basit also expressed concern in his letter that Chaudhry would end up being “the worst Pakistan Ambassador in Washington D.C”.
The ex-ambassador then went on to list the reasons behind his critique of Chaudhry: while alleging that Chaudhry was not made for the “delicate profession of diplomacy”. Basit cited two incidents as example – the joint statement issued after a meeting in the Russian city of Ufa between ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in 2015, and Pakistan’s failure to get re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The Ufa joint statement had been criticised at the time for being the first Prime Minister-level joint statement in which Kashmir was not specifically mentioned. Later in 2015, Pakistan suffered diplomatic humiliation after losing in a bid for re-election to the UNHRC, forcing the Foreign Office to do some introspection and look for the causes. The defeat was shocking because it was the first time that Pakistan had lost a major election at the UN, DawnNews reported.
Basit wrote in the letter, “it is more worrisome that your heart is not in the right place”.
Basit said it was in Pakistan’s interest that Chaudhry is removed from his post as the envoy to the US. Failing that, he said, Chaudhry should not be given an extension beyond his superannuation in 2018.
“May God help Pakistan when people like you are at such important positions,” Basit said.
Despite repeated attempts by DawnNews, Basit did not respond to telephone calls made to seek a comment on the letter.
Before being appointed ambassador to the US, Chaudhry had been Foreign Secretary since December 2013 and also served as spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry.
Basit had been tipped to succeed former Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani as the head of the diplomatic service. However, the PML-N government changed its plans at the last minute and instead made him High Commissioner to India, another very important diplomatic assignment in the Foreign Service.