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Fatemi’s appointment withdrawn after reservations by PPP


The government on Thursday withdrew the appointment of Syed Tariq Fatemi as Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Foreign Affairs in a decision taken after reservations by concerned quarters as well as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Fatemi, a retired diplomat and long time aide of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on foreign affairs, would remain as SAPM with the additional status of minister of state but without the portfolio of foreign affairs.

The U-turn was taken after reservations were expressed by relevant authorities since Fatemi’s role had remained in the spotlight during the Dawn leaks scandal.

Similarly, the decision did not go down well with the PPP, which has been given the portfolio of the foreign ministry.

Fatemi served as SAPM from 2013 to 2017, when he was removed from office as a result of the Dawn leaks inquiry.

Read More: Hina vows sincere efforts to steer Pakistan on diplomatic front

PPP’s Hina Rabbani Khar took oath as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs while PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is expected to soon become the new foreign minister.

The appointment of Fatemi, however, means that there might be a power struggle to control the key foreign ministry. Given that Fatemi is a career diplomat and understands the working of the Foreign Office, he might try to exercise greater control over the ministry.

Sources in the FO were surprised over his appointment given that the key ministry had already been assigned to the PPP.

“This means the PML-N has its man at the Foreign Office despite Bilawal as foreign minister and Hina as minister of state,” commented one source. “It will certainly be a challenge for the three to work in tandem.”

It is not clear if the decision to appoint Fatemi was taken in consultations with the PPP or not.

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