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ISLAMABAD: The controversy around the diplomatic cypher has forced the government to put on hold the appointment of foreign secretary for which Asad Majeed Khan was most likely to be picked, but instead gave additional charge of foreign secretary to Jauhar Saleem, a grade 22 officer of the foreign service.

A notification issued here, Friday, stated that Saleem, a BS-22 officer of Foreign Service of Pakistan, presently posted as Special Secretary, Europe, “is assigned look after charge of the post of Secretary, Foreign Affairs Division, in addition to his own duties, with immediate effect and until further orders.”

Informed sources told Business Recorder that DrAsadMajeed Khan was almost final to be picked as the new foreign secretary, but the decision has been put on hold following the recent audio leaks of the former prime minister Imran Khan with regard to the diplomatic cypher, which was sent by Dr Asad Majeed to the Foreign Office while serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States earlier this year.

The position of foreign secretary fell vacant after Sohail Mehmood retired on September 29 [Thursday] after reaching the age of superannuation.

The sources maintained that a decision on the appointment of AsadMajeed as the next foreign secretary could not be made following the surfacing of the new audio leaks, as the government in the recent National Security Committee (NSC), decided to hold a thorough probe into the cypher controversy in which Asad Majeed would also be invited, once the investigation starts.

The NSC has authorised to form a committee headed by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to investigate the matter in depth.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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