Letter criticizing envoy ‘comes at a difficult time’

A scathing letter allegedly written by a former Pakistani envoy to the country’s ambassador in Washington comes at a time when the embassy is hard countering a slew of statements.“Discrediting Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry at a time when he is dealing with a very difficult situation is no service to Pakistan,” said a senior diplomatic observer in Washington. “It will definitely not help promote Pakistan’s cause.”The scathing letter, purportedly written by Pakistan’s former ambassador to India Abdul Basit, is dated July 5 but surfaced online days after a speech by US President Donald Trump in which he blamed Pakistan for harboring Afghan militants. In that Aug 21 speech, President Trump also outlined a new South Asia strategy, which seeks to coerce Pakistan into supporting US goals in Afghanistan. It also envisages greater Indian task in Afghanistan, stoking Pakistan’s worst fears of being sandwiched between two hostile borders. The words led to dozens of articles and statements in the US media, criticizing Pakistan and blaming it for fanning violence in Afghanistan. The developments pushed the Pakistani embassy in Washington to the face row of Islamabad’s efforts to present a better image of the country before the American public. “The embassy was already finding it difficult to do so in today’s hostile environment and the letter has further difficult the situation,” the observer added. In the letter, Mr. Basit lambasted Mr. Chaudhry’s tenure as foreign desk over a number of policy gaffes made during his time in the office.“ Mr. Basit wrote in the letter, a copy of which has been circulating Sources in the Foreign Office confirmed that the letter was authentic. Embassy sources in Washington also definite that the letter was true, although “allegations are unfounded”.

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