Jilani assumes charge as Pak Foreign Secretary

Islamabad: Top Pakistani diplomat Jalil Abbas Jilani on Saturday assumed charge as Pakistan`s Foreign Secretary, replacing Salman Bashir on his retirement.

Bashir, who served as Foreign Secretary from May 2008 to March 2012, has been named Pakistan`s new High Commissioner to India and is expected to take up the post next month.

Jilani, who was expelled by India in 2003 after being accused of funnelling funds to Kashmiri separatists, joined the Foreign Service in 1979. He has served at Pakistan missions in Jeddah, London, Washington and New Delhi.

He was Pakistan`s High Commissioner in Australia and his last diplomatic assignment was as Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union. He also did a stint as the Foreign Ministry`s spokesman in 2005.

Born on February 2, 1955 in Multan, Jilani has a bachelor`s degree in law and MSc in defence and strategic studies. He is also a cousin of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Jilani is fluent in French, Arabic, Seraiki, Punjabi and Pushto. He belongs to a distinguished family of Multan and his father, Azhar Hussain Jilani, was a Pakistan Civil Service officer while his elder brother, Asghar Hussain Jilani, served as Chief Secretary of Punjab province.