Pakistan may announce a new envoy to India

18 Feb 2017 | Written by Supriya ; Edited by Gaurav Jeyaraman

Pakistan may soon appoint a new envoy to India after current high commissioner, Abdul Basit, completes his three year term in March.

According to top diplomatic sources, the selections of a new high commissioner will be done with the intent to reset bilateral relations between the acrimonious neighbours.

The name of the new high commissioner is expected to be announced in a few days.

In context: Could India have a new Pakistani envoy?

18 Feb 2017Pakistan may announce a new envoy to India

Most likely candidateWho could be next envoy to India?

Reports suggest that the most likely candidate is Pakistan's current envoy to Turkey, Sohail Mahmood.

Mahmood joined Pakistan foreign service in 1985 and has formerly served in Pakistan missions in Ankara, Thailand and Washington.

As one of the senior-most officers in Pakistan's Foreign Service, he has held top positions in Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mahmood has a Masters' degree in International Relations and History.

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Contenders in the running

Other contenders for India Envoy include Afrasiab M. Qureshi, current High Commissioner to New Zealand, Farrukh Amil, current Ambassador to Japan and Syed Ibrar Hussain, Ambassador to Afghanistan.
Does PM Sharif intend to reset India-Pak ties?

Clear indicationsDoes PM Sharif intend to reset India-Pak ties?

Sources in Islamabad suggest replacing Abdul Basit is part of a major shuffle being undertaken by Pakistan's new foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua.

Janjua's appointment as foreign secretary came as a surprise as it superseded several senior diplomats, including Basit, as she was PM Sharif's choice.

Observers believe Basit was passed-over as his "hawkish stance" on India's sensitive issues didn't go down well with Pakistan.

Recent eventsOther conciliatory gestures by Pakistan

In recent weeks, PM Sharif has made attempts to reach out to India.

He announced the release of captured Indian fishermen on his birthday and later released an Indian soldier who had reportedly erroneously crossed into Pakistan on the day surgical strikes were conducted by India.

The recent house arrest of terrorist, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, was also reportedly intended to appease India.

09 May 2017Sohail Mahmood to be new Pak envoy to India

Sources stated that Sohail Mahmood is set to become Pakistan's new High Commissioner to India, as Abdul Basit's tenure has drawn to a close.

He is currently serving as Pakistan's ambassador to Turkey and is likely to take up his post in India next month.

He comes in at a time of heightened cross-border tensions between India and Pakistan.