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Salman Bashir likely to be Paks envoy to India

Islamabad: Pakistan may appoint Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir as its next High Commissioner to India to replace current incumbent Shahid Malik, whose term is set to end in June.

The government had considered the possibilities of posting Bashir as Pakistan`s permanent representative to the UN, the Ambassador to the US or the High Commissioner to India, sources in the Foreign Office said.

However, with President Asif Ali Zardari reluctant to replace Hussain Haqqani as the envoy in Washington and with Hussain Haroon reviewing his call to be replaced as the permanent representative to the UN, the government had come round to the possibility of sending Bashir to New Delhi, the sources told PTI.

A final decision in this regard in yet to be made by the government, the sources said.

High Commissioner Shahid Malik is on a contract following his retirement and his tenure will end in June.

Bashir is likely to be posted to India only after the upcoming meeting of the Foreign Secretaries in Bhutan next month and expected meeting of the Foreign Ministers in March, the sources said.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is considering a new assignment for Bashir as he is set to complete his three-year tenure as Foreign Secretary.

Gilani recently acknowledged to reporters that various options were being considered in this regard, the sources said.

Pakistan`s ambassador to Germany Shahid Kamal is considered a front-runner for the post of Foreign Secretary.

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