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ISLAMABAD: For the very first time in his decades long political career Ishaq Dar was sworn in as Pakistan’s 39th Minister for Foreign Affairs after what his detractors claim was sustained opposition by stakeholders to give him the finance portfolio.

The delay in selecting the cabinet was because of discussions between the stakeholders and the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on which portfolio to give Dar, said a very senior party member to this correspondent, but he got only third-best as the names for finance and interior had already been decided.

In background discussions with Business Recorder, both serving and former diplomats maintained that Dar’s diplomatic skills are poor and cited his mishandling of negotiations with the IMF in 2022 that did incalculable damage to the economy and expressed serious concern that during the present challenging times the government had opted to appoint an inexperienced man when someone with a background in diplomacy was needed.

Dar has been given the gigantic task of leading Pakistan’s diplomacy on foreign policy front at a time when the country’s bilateral ties with neighbouring countries such as India and Afghanistan, and with the western world, particularly the United States, are extremely challenging, former diplomats said.

Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi (retd) however pointed out that though personality does matter when top diplomats meet each other, yet foreign policy does not change with the change of faces.

He said that generally, Pakistan’s foreign policy targets are pre-defined to have good relations with neighbours as well as the regional countries, particularly China, Muslim world, prominently with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, western countries – the United States and European Union.

“Dar will have to pursue the policy guidelines he will be given by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Office. I don’t think his personal opinion matters as far as the foreign policy is concerned,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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