Foreign Office servicemen distraught after PM Khan’s tirade

ISLAMABAD: Servicemen belonging to the Foreign Office are distraught after PM Imran Khan’s tirade expressing anger over the “shocking callousness” of Pakistani diplomats in regards to their behaviour with expatriates.

PM Khan had criticised Pakistani diplomats, particularly, those posted in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Raha Ejaz was called back and Gen (R) Bilal Akbar was posted there.

“Indifferent attitude is unforgivable, unacceptable,” Mr Khan lashed out, telling the officers to give up their ‘colonial mindset’.

Commenting on the development, Former foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua said: “Deeply dismayed at the unwarranted criticism of the Foreign Ministry. There seems to be woefully inadequate understanding of Embassies’ consular work, the acute resource constraints, and the role of multiple departments which [are] not under the control of Ambassadors.”

Another former foreign secretary Salman Bashir explained on Twitter: “Usual services to the community are essentially in the domain of other departments that handle passports, nicop [National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis], consular attestation etc.”

“Officers of the Machine Readable Passports and ID cards have their own issues, there are problems with their posting, which is mostly not done on merit, whereas the flak is taken by foreign service officers who neither post them nor can hold them accountable as they don’t sign their performance reports, commonly called ACRs,” a Pakistani diplomat at an overseas mission pointed out to DAWN.

It also came to light that the officials from directorate general of passport and Nadra are not trained to function in foreign environments. “A majority are rude, make applicants take multiple rounds and in most of the cases with shortcomings, these officials use the ‘over-rule’ button — implying that the applicant is ‘not’ a Pakistan national, rendering thousands of Pakistanis stateless who then have to pay large amounts to get their names cleared,” another foreign service officer said.

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