Salman Bashir likely to be Pakistan''s next envoy to India

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Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Jan 16 (PTI) Pakistan may appoint ForeignSecretary Salman Bashir as its next High Commissioner to Indiato replace current incumbent Shahid Malik, whose term is setto end in June.

The government had considered the possibilities ofposting Bashir as Pakistan''s permanent representative to theUN, the Ambassador to the US or the High Commissioner toIndia, sources in the Foreign Office said.

However, with President Asif Ali Zardari reluctant toreplace Hussain Haqqani as the envoy in Washington and withHussain Haroon reviewing his call to be replaced as thepermanent representative to the UN, the government had comeround to the possibility of sending Bashir to New Delhi, thesources told PTI.

A final decision in this regard in yet to be made bythe government, the sources said.

High Commissioner Shahid Malik is on a contractfollowing his retirement and his tenure will end in June.

Bashir is likely to be posted to India only after theupcoming meeting of the Foreign Secretaries in Bhutan nextmonth and expected meeting of the Foreign Ministers in March,the sources said.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is considering a newassignment for Bashir as he is set to complete his three-yeartenure as Foreign Secretary.

Gilani recently acknowledged to reporters that variousoptions were being considered in this regard, the sourcessaid.

Pakistan''s ambassador to Germany Shahid Kamal isconsidered a front-runner for the post of Foreign Secretary.

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