By: Naimat Khan
KARACHI: Days after the controversial appointment of PML-N Stalwart Barjees Tahir as Governor Gilgit Baltistan made headlines, credible sources in the foreign office Islamabad said another controversial appointment is happening, this time at diplomatic front which is likely to be challenged in the apex court.
Sources said that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given approval to the appointment of Dr. Yousaf Junaid, a PML-N loyalists and non-diplomatic bureaucrat, as Pakistan High Commissioner to Canada.
Like the political appointment of GB Governor which attracted severe criticisms from political parties like PPP and PTI, the reported appointment of Dr Yousaf Junaid as the High Commission of Pakistan to Canada is expected to be challenged in the apex court, source said.
According to diplomatic sources, Dr Youasaf Junaid, a Grade 20 Officer, is currently serving as Consul General of Pakistan in Istanbul for the last five years.
“As an officer of Commerce and Trade Group he was posted one of the Commercial Missions of Pakistan for a term of three years after which he was supposed to return to Pakistan and serve in his Ministry for a specific period of time which could be 2 to 5 years” source said, adding upon his turn he would again be considered for a posting abroad against a commercial post.
“By violating all the procedures he is being appointed as High Commissioner for Pakistan on which a grade -22 officer of Foreign Service of Pakistan was posted. The post had been kept vacant for almost a year to accommodate Dr. Juniad” tells a source in foreign office Islamabad.
As per the rules either the Officers of Foreign Service of Pakistan can be posted against as Ambassadors or High Commissioners, as they have unwritten quota of 80% posts and the remaining 20% goes to the Political appointees. The political appointees may include people from all walks of life who are deemed fit for the job but excluded in Service Officers.
The rule says is that no serving Officer of any service can be appointed as Ambassador or High Commissioner except that of Foreign Service which has been made exactly for the purpose.
Officers in Foreign Office have told this scribe that Dr. Junaid has worked in close collaboration of Chief Minister Punjab and has managed the commercial deals taking place in Turkey. “These Include the Multibillion dollar Metro bus projects, investment in Power sector and so long and so forth” sources claimed.
There are also reports that the sister of Dr. Junaid is the Private Secretary of Ms. Kalsoom Nawaz and this brings Dr. Junaid close to the family circles of rulers.
It is pertinent to mention here that during the last regime, President Zardari tried to post his favorite in France. Jahanzeb Khan a grade 20 Officer of District Management Group was posted as Pakistan’s Ambassador to France. The Foreign Office Officers’ Association went to the court and same day the appointment was cancelled.
“Now again, without learning anything Prime Minister is again doing the same thing. Foreign Office of Pakistan’s current spokesperson was at the forefront against that appointment”, told an official while demanding complete anonymity.
Source said that the incumbent Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Chaudhry, who would send the summary to Prime Minister for appointment of Dr. Junaid against all rules to save his skin, had been against to such appointments in the past.
Sources said that Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, is supporting the appointment Dr Yousaf despite the fact that as a career Officer of Foreign Service he had been speaking against appointment of political ambassadors.
Despite several attempts the foreign secretary could not be reached while the cell phone of Tanseem Aslam, the foreign office spokesperson, was also going unattended till filing this report.
Edited version of this story has been published here