Foreign Office in a fix over new govt’s handling of diplomatic affairs: sources

FO authorities are clueless as to who took the decision that the PM should take Pompeo call

By
Mona Khan
FO authorities are clueless as to who took the decision that the PM should take Pompeo call-Photo File

ISLAMABAD: Officials of Pakistan's Foreign Office have been perplexed over the new government's handling of diplomatic affairs of the country, sources informed Geo News Monday.

The Foreign Office found itself in a difficult position after Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to attend the phone call of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — reportedly against the FO’s advice.

According to sources, FO authorities are clueless as to who took the decision that the PM should take Pompeo's call. The ministry had advised him to attend calls by US President or Vice President only, while Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was advised to take Pompeo’s call.

The matter ended after the FO spokesman’s tweet on the matter but Qureshi went ahead with mentioning it during his press conference despite being asked not to by the Foreign Office, sources added.

This could have ramifications on Pompeo’s expected visit to Pakistan next month, the sources said.

Another matter the Foreign Office was unaware of was that of PM Imran offering aid to the Indian government for the Kerala flood victims. Sources said the FO was not consulted before making the offer.

In a similar vein, the Foreign Office was forced to clarify Qureshi’s comments about Indian PM Narendra Modi’s congratulatory letter to PM Imran. The foreign minister had said that Modi had called for a dialogue, while Indian media, quoting officials, denied that the Modi government said any such thing, which resulted in the Foreign Office having to provide an explanation.

In response to a query regarding the controversy being unnecessarily created by sections of the Indian media, the FO spokesman had stressed that the foreign minister had not stated that “the Indian Prime Minister had made an offer of a dialogue.”