New Delhi: Career Pakistani diplomat Sohail Mahmood is set to become Islamabad’s new High Commissioner to New Delhi. Mahmood replaces Abdul Basit, who was appointed as Pakistan’s envoy to India in 2014.
Mahmood is currently the Ambassador of Pakistan in Turkey and served as the High Commissioner to Thailand before that.
According to the official website of the Pakistan Embassy, Ankara, Mahmood is one of the senior most officers of the Pakistan Foreign Service who knows Turkish.
Turkey was also Mahmood’s first ever foreign posting; he served at the embassy in Ankara between 1991 and 1994. He later served at several Pakistani missions including ones in Washington and New York.
Born in 1962, Mahmood holds a master’s degrees in History and International Relations and, according to the Times of India, has not had a direct role to play in Islamabad’s New Delhi policy.
According to a PTI report from last month, Abdul Basit, who has completed his three-year term in India, will likely be appointed as head of the Foreign Service Academy (FSA) in Islamabad.
Mahmood’s appointment comes at a time when diplomatic ties between India and Pakistan are at a low over the Kulbuhushan Jadhav death sentence.
A Pakistan military court last month sentenced the former Indian Navy officer to death on charges of espionage. India has rejected Islamabad’s accusation of Jadhav being a spy and has slammed Pakistan for carrying out a “farcical” trial.
Pakistan has not allowed India consular access to Jadhav and has maintained that he was accorded a fair trial.
The news of Mahmood’s appointment also comes just a week after Pakistani soldiers killed and mutilated two Indian soldiers near the Line of Control.