ISLAMABAD  -  The Foreign Office has informed the Senate that as many as 15 non-career diplomats, including nine high-ranking retired military officials, who were political appointees of last Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) government, are still holding their offices abroad.

The details shared by Foreign Office with the Upper House of the Parliament in response to a question of a treasury benches lawmaker reveal that last PML-N government in its entire tenure appointed total of 37 non-career diplomats as ambassadors and high commissioners.

Out of these diplomats, 23 were high ranking retired military officials including six Lt. Generals, three air marshals, 10 major generals, two vice admirals and two brigadiers.

The Foreign Office in its detailed report has said that only three ambassadors including Shahzad Ahmad, Ambassador of Pakistan to Doha; Kamran Shafi, Ambassador of Pakistan to Havana; and Nadir Chaudhri, Ambassador of Pakistan to Rabat have resigned due to the change of government.

Out of the 15 non-career diplomats, 14 are ambassadors or high commissioners and one is consul general. Among these political appointees of PML-N, nine are high ranking retired military officials including a Lt. General, an air marshal, four major generals, two vice admirals and a brigadier.

The report says: “according to the appointment letter, a non-career ambassador/high commissioner will offer his or her resignation when the government appointing him/ her goes out of office.” The term of their contractual employments have yet to expire.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that the previous PML-N government had also made appointments of three non-career diplomats but they have yet to join their offices.

They are also retired military officials including ambassador-designate Major General (Retd) Zahid Mubashir Sheikh, Ambassador-designate Major General (Retd) Waqar Ahmad Kingravi and Ambassador-designate Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Sohail Amman.

The 15 non-career diplomats include Masood Khalid, Pakistan’s ambassador in Beijing; Dr Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Ambassador at UN in New York; Tariq Azeem, High Commissioner of Pakistan in Ottawa; Major General (Retd) Tariq Rasheed Khan posted in Bandar Seri Begawan; Lt. General (Retd) Saleem Nawaz posted in Sarajevo; Syed Adil Gillani in Belgrade and Vice Admiral (Retd) Khan Hashmi Bin Siddique, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Riyadh. It is important to note here that Masood Khalid is serving his third term in Beijing.

The others are Major General (Retd) Shahid Ahmad Hashmat, the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Colombo; Major General (Retd) Junaid Rehmat posted in Amman; Vice Admiral (Retd) Waseem Akram posted in Maldives; Major General (Retd) Sajid Iqbal in Tripoli; Air Marshal (Retd) Rashid Kamal in Damascus; Qazi M. Khalilullah in Moscow and Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington. Brigadier (Retd) Syed Javed Hassan, Pakistan’s Council General in Dubai, is also a non-career diplomat appointed by the last government.

According to details shared with the Senate, the report says: “when as a result of the election, any new government is formed, then the non-career ambassadors/ high commissioners will have to offer their resignations.”

“It is the prerogative of the new government to accept or decline his/her resignation. The word ‘new government’ means an elected government and NOT a caretaker government.”

The report says that last PML-N government in addition to that postings, also made as many as 16 appointments of non-career diplomats after coming into power in 2013.

However, they relinquished the charge of their offices after the expiry of their job contracts. Among these 16 diplomats, 11 were high ranking retired military officials, including five Lt. generals, an air marshal, four major generals, and a brigadier.

They include Lt. General (Retd) Ahsan Azhar Hayat, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Amman; Major General (Retd) Wajahat Ali Mufti, who had posting in Kyiv; Muhammad Haroon Shaukat in Ankara; Lt. General (Retd) Javed Zia in Tripoli; Brigadier (Retd) Muhammad Zareef Malik in Brunei; Rafat Mahdi in Madrid; Lt. General (Retd) Muhammad Yousaf in Sarajevo, and Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington.

The others are Major General (Retd) Syed Shakeel Hussain, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Colombo; Lt. General (retd) Agha Muhammad Umer Farooq in Abuja; Major General (retd) Raza Muhammad in Port Louis; Lt. General (Retd) Shafaat Ullah Shah in Amman; Air Marshal (Retd) Athar Hussain Bukhari in Damascus; Major General (Retd) Athar Abbas, Pakistan’s ambassador in Kyiv, and Javed Malik, Pakistan’s Ambassador in Bahrain. Zamir Akram was also among these appointees who had posting at UN in Geneva.