Abdul Basit, a former Pakistani High Commissioner to India, slammed his own country’s envoy to the US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, blaming the latter for several foreign policy disasters. In a letter dated July 5, 2017 on his official letterhead, Basit told Chaudhry, “The more I think the more I am convinced that you have been the worst Foreign Secretary ever. My concern is that you would also end up being the worst Pakistan Ambassador in Washington DC.”
Basit even gave reasons to support his claim: “The reasons are simple. First, you are not made for the delicate profession of diplomacy. While I can cite many examples, the Ufa Joint Statement and Pakistan’s humiliating defeat at the Human Rights Council are sufficient to prove my point. Second, and it is more worrisome, your heart is not in the right place. In this regard the less said the better.” The former envoy to India further said Chaudhry should be immediately removed in Pakistan’s interest, or “May Allah help Pakistan”.
The content of the letter has not been formally acknowledged by Pakistan’s Foreign Office, but it has gone viral on the internet and Pakistani media have confirmed its authenticity. The Dawn reported that sources in Pakistan’s Foreign Office as well as Embassy sources in Washington, confirmed the letter was “genuine” but the allegations made by Basit “baseless”.
According to Pakistani media, Basit wrote the letter because he holds a grudge against Chaudhry after being overlooked for the foreign secretary on two occasions. The Express Tribune said Basit was first overlooked in 2014 and then again in early this year when Tehmina Janjua was appointed for the job.
In an editorial, The Nation called it an “undiplomatic letter” and “thoroughly unprofessional”. “Everything from the language of the letter, to the lack of any substantial argument as to why he has such a low opinion of Mr Aizaz Chaudhry – apart from listing two foreign policy situations – screams of an inherent bias and dubious motives,” it said, adding the letter shows Basit is a “poor sport, without the ability to handle defeat with grace or tact.”
The Dawn quoted a senior diplomatic observer in Washington as saying, “Discrediting [Pakistan’s] Ambassador [to the United States] Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry at a time when he is dealing with a very difficult situation is no service to Pakistan.” He further said, “It will definitely not help promote Pakistan’s cause.”
The Express Tribune reported that Chaudhry ignored Basit’s scathing letter. “I’ve decided not to respond to this disgusting letter, and leave the matter to one and only who matters. May Allah be our protector and guide,” Chaudhry told officers of the Pakistani embassy in Washington on Wednesday.
Pakistan Today also reported Chaudhry as saying that the letter was “too rude and uncalled for”. He further said that Basit wrongly thinks “he could not reach the post of foreign secretary because of me. He has since retired. Jealousy has no remedy.”