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US accepts Masood Khan’s appointment as Pakistani envoy

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WASHINGTON: The United States government has issued the agrément for the appointment of Sardar Masood Khan as Pakistan’s envoy in Washington.

The agrément, which was issued by the State Department, will now allow Masood to replace incumbent Pakistani Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan. The agrément, in diplomacy, is an agreement to receive and facilitate members of a country’s diplomatic mission.

An influential group of Indian American (Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS), urged US President Joe Biden to reject the appointment of Masood Khan as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, alleging that the diplomat is a sympathizer and supporter of militant groups.

Masood’s agrément was sent by the Foreign Office in November after Prime Minister Imran Khan nominated him as ambassador to the US.

While normally it takes a few weeks for US State Department to process an agrément, eyebrows were being raised after the delay in issuance of the paperwork was dragged on and there was no sign from the State Department about its decision.

At the same time on January 27, US Congressman Scot Perry had penned a letter to President Joe Biden which was consequently leaked to selected Indian media persons. It was a harsh letter full of venom against Masood and was picked up by the Indian media which ran reports that Washington had blocked the appointment.

However Islamabad was satisfied with the normal bureaucratic process. The Foreign Office spokesperson said there was no truth in Indian media reports that the process was blocked by Washington.

“Ambassador Masood Khan is a highly accomplished diplomat with 40 years of experience in both multilateral and bilateral diplomacy. His agre’ment is being processed in the US system”, the spokesperson had said.

Masood Khan was appointed as the 27th president of Azad Kashmir by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2016. He was replaced by PTI’s Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhary following the AJK elections in August 2021.

He is a career diplomat who has served the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in different capacities since 1980, before elevation as the AJK president.

A vocal and strong advocate of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan, Masood effectively highlighted the sufferings of the oppressed Kashmiris that warrant an effective strategy to end the never-ending holocaust.

The former AJK president also served as the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from August 2003 to March 2005, before becoming Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International Organisations in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2005 to 2008.

He was also Pakistan’s Ambassador to China between September 2008 and September 2012 and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York, between October 11, 2012 and February 7, 2015.

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