Former diplomats weigh in on Aizaz-Basit ugly spat

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ISLAMABAD: Former diplomats on Wednesday lambasted the “upsetting” language and tone of a letter written by Pakistan’s former High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit to the incumbent Pakistani envoy in Washington Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry .

In a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, the Association of Former Ambassadors (AFA) has expressed complete solidarity with the staff of Foreign Office and Pakistani missions abroad.

“The members of Association of Former Ambassadors have noted with regret the unfortunate episode relating to a letter attributed to our former High Commissioner in New Delhi,” it said.

“The contents of the letter appear to have been prompted by personal differences between two officers of the Foreign Services. The language and tone of the letter was upsetting and the members were of the view that it should not have been written or made public.”

According to the AFA, such episodes clearly add to the difficulties of the Foreign Office, which is faced with so many challenges in the region and globally.

“We wish to express our solidarity with you and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has performed admirably in dealing with challenges confronting Pakistan in an extremely difficult global environment.”

“We greatly appreciate and stand in solidarity with the members of the Foreign Office at the Headquarters and in Pakistan’s missions abroad in carrying out their onerous responsibilities.

“We are confident that this episode will not detract you and the Foreign Office from your primary responsibility. We must all work together to enhance the capacity and protect the integrity of our institution, which we have served with great pride in our lifelong commitment to our beloved country,” added the AFA.

The letter, leaked on social media, was allegedly written by Abdul Basit, the former ambassador to India, on July 5, 2017, in which he lambasted Pakistani ambassador to Washington Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, criticizing his tenure as foreign secretary apparently over a number of foreign policy gaffes.

“The more I think the more I am convinced that you have been the worst Foreign Secretary ever,” Basit wrote in the letter, a copy of which has been circulating on social media.
Secondly, Basit wrote in the letter, “it is more worrisome [that], your heart is not in the right place”.

“May God help Pakistan when people like you […] are at such important positions,” Basit said.

In reply, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry called the scathing letter as “disgusting”.
Chaudhry told journalists that Basit’s letter too rude and uncalled for

“He [Basit] wrongly thinks that he could not reach the post of foreign secretary because of me — he has since retired,” Chaudhry said.

“I have served my country to the best of my abilities. Some of us like Basit fail to realise that life is a combination of human endeavour and fate. We have to accept in humility what life gives us and then thank the Creator for that,” the envoy to US was quoted as saying. “Jealousy has no remedy.”

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Story first published: 30th August 2017

Originally Posted on SamaaNews

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