By Asghar Ali Mubarak
Islamabad: The newly elected the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Mr. Masood Khan will take the oath of his office on on 25th August 2016.He will administer the oath of his office from Mr. Justice Mohammed Azam Khan, Chief Justice of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.?The oath ceremony will take place at Muzafar Abad, in this regards the invitation have been distributed. Newly elected President Azad Kashmir, Masood Khan vowed to work resolutely for the just of cause of freedom of oppressed people of the Indian Occupied Kashmir and to help with the development of AJK. He has full command on Kashmir subject. As journalist and founder president of Diplomatic Correspondent Forum of Pakistan (DFCP) ‘’ I personally found him an able, articulate and media-friendly; Mr. Masood Khan developed good rapport with local and foreign journalists and was accessible at all odd times. Mr., Masood Khan in his last news briefing at the foreign office introduced his successor Jalil Abbas Jilani, the current Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States the then director-general (South Asia) at the Foreign Ministry. To quote his colleague Mr.Jalil Abbas Jilani, who replaces him the then as spokesman, Mr. Masood Khan?ended the briefing on a sentimental note, quoting Robert Frost’s famous verses: ‘’The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep’’. As a spokesman H.E,Mr, Masood Khan? set very high standards that will make the job of his successor difficult. The Diplomatic Correspondent Forum of Pakistan (DFCP) founder president Asghar Ali Mubarak hosted a farewell and well come ceremony in the honor of outgoing Foreign Office Spokesman Masood Khan, and newly appointed who appointed his colleague Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, who replaces him the then spokesman. The guest list was dominated by national and foreign media representatives who have been covering H.E, Mr. Masood Khan’s weekly news briefings for the past year and a half. A large number of Foreign Ministry officials were also there to say goodbye to their promising colleague. Former foreign secretary Riaz Khokhar, who had appointed Masood Khan as the Spokesman in June 2003, was also present on the occasion. The last guest to arrive was Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri. Masood Khan became the first director-general rank official to be appointed Foreign Office Spokesman. Earlier, this position was assigned only to additional secretaries. H.E, Mr., Masood Khan, who had been working as director-general (United Nations) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have vast experience in multilateral diplomacy and served in Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to UN in New York from 1993 to 1997. He also holds important diplomatic assignments in Pakistani missions in Beijing, The Hague and Washington DC. He was associated as the Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad by the Government of Pakistan. He was the?Permanent Representative?of Pakistan to the?United Nations?in New York until Feb 07, 2015.Beginning in September 2008; he was Pakistan’s Ambassador to China.?Before that he was the ambassador and permanent representative of Pakistan?to the?United Nations Office at Geneva?from 2005 to 2008. He also stayed as the chairman of the Committee on Internet Governance at the?World Summit on the Information Society?in 2005, H.E, Mr., Masood Khan joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1980. His foreign assignments include: Third Secretary in?Beijing (1984–1986), Second Secretary and First Secretary at?The Hague?(1986–1989) and Counselor at United Nations?New York(1993–1997) and Political Counselor in?Washington, D.C.?(1997–2002).His assignments at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs include: section officer for Europe, Iran and South Asian countries (1980–1982), director for?Economic Cooperation Organization, Overseas Pakistanis and International Conferences (1990–1991), director for Secretary General’s office (1991–1992), director-general for East Asia and Pacific (2002–2003), director-general for United Nations, Disarmament, and?Organization of the Islamic Conference?(2003–2004) and spokesman for Pakistan Foreign Office (2003–2005).He was appointed as Pakistan’s permanent representative to?United Nations Office at Geneva?in February 2005 During this time, he stayed as chairman for many forums including?International Organization for Migration?Council, Group of 77?and China at Geneva, Government Group of?International Labour Organization?(ILO), Conference on Disarmament and?Organization of the Islamic Conference?at Geneva. In September 2008, H.E, Mr., Masood Khan?was appointed as Pakistan’s Ambassador to?People’s Republic of China. In October 2012, H.E, Mr., Masood Khan was appointed as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York.Mr. Masood Khan will be replacing Sardar Yaqoob as 26th President of the region. Sardar Yaqoob retires on August 25 2016. Mr Masood Khan was the candidate Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has been elected 26th President of Azad Jammu and?Kashmir?while securing 42 out of 55 votes. He was elected president by a joint electoral college of AJK Legislative Assembly and AJK Council. Pakistan People’s Party candidate Chaudhry Latif Akbar secured six votes. Muslim Conference and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf boycotted presidential election. Meanwhile Jammu Kashmir People’s Party President Khalid Ibrahim Khan could not take part in election because still he has not taken oath as member legislative assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Meanwhile Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has congratulated Masood Khan on election as President AJK. Meanwhile Masood Khan has thanked Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for nominating presidential candidate for AJK. Masood Khan said he will work for highlighting Kashmir case and achieving development and progress of Azad Kashmir.Mr.Masood Khan was nominated by the Muslim League (N) AJK as their Presidential candidate. Prime Minister AJK Raja Farooq Haider himself proposed the name of Masood Khan on behalf of his majority parliamentary party.
Mr.Masood Khan has thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his nomination and for reposing full confidence in him. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has appreciated the role of Masood Khan in highlighting the Kashmir cause during his various diplomatic assignments particularly during his tenure as Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN.
Mr.Masood Khan has worked with the UN in New York and Geneva and other multilateral forums, for more than twenty years. He became President of the UN Security Council in January 2013. He was Chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Geneva, where he also represented, as Chairman of the Group of 77 and China, 131 developing countries in various?international?organizations.
Mr.Masood Khan was born in Rawalakot, Poonch and studied there. With the election of Masood Khan, observers expect the Kashmir movement to gather momentum as the newly elected President has a proven record as an ardent campaigner for the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions, end to Indian atrocities, and the initiation of a sustained, substantive and structured dialogue process to resolve disputes between India and Pakistan.
Over the years, Mr.Masood Khan has worked hard in the United Nations and various capitals to build support for the realization of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. During his tenure as Permanent Representative to the United Nations he reached out to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council to persuade them to fulfill the UN’s promise to help decide Kashmir’s political future through a fair, just and democratic dispensation.
In August 2013 he helped organize the UN Secretary General Ban’s first official visit to Islamabad during which the Secretary General had, inter alia, detailed talks on Jammu and Kashmir with the newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
On that occasion, the Secretary General offered his mediation and good offices to India and Pakistan subject to their concurrence. Mr.Masood Khan assisted the Prime Minister in 2013 and 2014 to raise the Kashmir issue at the United Nations.
Earlier, as a delegate, for years, Mr.Masood Khan highlighted in the UN General Assembly, the Third Committee, and the Human Rights Commission the massive, gross and consistent human rights violations in IOK against the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
In this endeavor, he received scores of delegations of political leadership and human rights activists from both Azad Kashmir and the Indian Occupied Kashmir for their participation in the UN and other international?forums.
During his five year stint in Washington D.C., he worked to urge US lawmakers and Administration to help Kashmiris secure their freedom and liberty. He spoke widely on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at American universities and think tanks; and to the international media.
In the past one year, he has been talking to multiple Pakistani and Kashmiri audiences at the seminars and conferences in universities and think tanks about ways and means to re-energize and re-strategize Kashmir movement to achieve results.
Mr.Masood Khan has a track record of effective international leadership in diverse matters encompassing peace and security, nuclear diplomacy, prevention of proliferation of biological weapons, social and economic development, Internet governance, migration, and international humanitarian law. Areas of his specialization include Kashmir, South Asia, Pak-China relations, and Pak-US relations.
He is a respected diplomat and negotiator of international standing in the UN, the Islamic world, the Western countries and China. He is known in the international community for his refined and result-oriented diplomatic skills. He is an accomplished speaker both in English and Urdu.
He studied the Chinese language from a Chinese university and has served in China for eight years to promote Pakistan-China relations. Last year, President Xi Jinping conferred on him highest Chinese award for promoting Pakistan-China friendship.
Over the years, he has worked on Pakistan-China projects on infrastructure, energy, construction, and industrial development, including in Azad Kashmir. He is also a renowned broadcaster and was an English newscaster and a TV anchor in his twenties.
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