Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, who is set to be replaced with envoy to India Abdul Basit, is headed for Washington — as Islamabad seeks to boost its ties with the Donald Trump administration.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is understood to have cleared the two top diplomatic posts during a meeting on Saturday, Geo New reported.
Both the two top diplomatic picks have worked with India closely — Basit as the High Commissioner to India since 2014, while Chaudhry as Foreign Secretary held talks with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar a few times and also visited India last year.
Chaudhry would replace Syed Jalil Abbas Jilani, who had earlier served as Foreign Secretary.
Chaudhry's posting as Ambassador to Washington has been okayed by the government, a Foreign Office spokesperson said.
He was chosen from among a few candidates for his diplomatic skills to deal with Washington. The government had wanted Jilani to continue so that Chaudhry could keep the Foreign Secretary's job, but Jilani refused, Geo reported.
Chaudhry, who has earlier served as political counsellor in the Pakistani embassy in the US, would be able to build on his knowledge of the US to take relations forward.
He had earlier represented the country in the United Nations for more than six years.
Chaudhry also served as Pakistan's ambassador to Netherlands from 2009-2012.