Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday announced that Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood has been appointed as the new foreign secretary of the country.

Qureshi, while speaking to reporters in Multan, said that the decision to appoint Mahmood foreign secretary had been made following discussions with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Incumbent Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua will be retiring on April 16, Qureshi said, adding that he had learned a great deal and received a lot of help from her. He thanked Janjua for her services. “Challenges came up in difficult foreign affairs,” he said, “But she always handled things with courage, bravery, clarity, and with a smile.”

The foreign minister said he had spoken to Mahmood on the telephone yesterday and congratulated him over his new appointment.

“He is a seasoned diplomat,” Qureshi said, pointing out that Mahmood ─ a senior diplomat who has garnered a reputation for integrity ─ had previously served in various countries including Washington, New York, and had even been the Pakistani envoy to Thailand and Turkey.

“Even now, after the Pulwama incident took place, he came to the headquarters for consultations and I benefited from his experience,” the foreign minister said.

Qureshi expressed confidence that Mahmood would fulfil his responsibilities as foreign secretary.

“I am hopeful that he will he will fulfil the country, as well as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s foreign affairs preferences,” Qureshi said.

Mahmood has received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from Government College in Rawalpindi, a Masters of Arts in History from Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, and a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York.

He joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in October 1985. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mofa), Mahmood served ─ among other positions ─ as Additional Secretary for Afghanistan/West Asia as well as Director General for the America’s and the Foreign Secretary’s Office.

His foreign assignments for Pakistan include the role of ambassador to Thailand and Turkey. He has also remained counsellor to Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and a political counsellor to the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.

Courtesy: Dawn