If Imran Khan Conquered the UN, as his fans say, why is Pakistan changing its UN ambassador?


If one is to believe the Pakistani mainstream media, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party the PTI and its social media machinery, then Mr Khan’s recent UNGA trip was a huge success. If that were so then why is it that within 72 hours of Khan’s UNGA speech, his government has changed Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi. On Friday soon after Khan’s UNGA speech two of his cabinet members – Fawad Chaudhry and Naeem ul Haque – tweeted praises of Amb Lodhi.

Establishment Hawk

Yet on Monday September 30, Lodhi was replaced by a former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United Nations, Munir Akram. A career foreign service officer, Akram is considered a hawk and a strong supporter of Pakistan’s military -intelligence establishment.

Akram is a prolific OpEd writer and if one glances through his Opeds in Dawn the image appears of someone who is hawkish on India, anti-US, pro-China and believes Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are its only savior.

Girlfriend Beater as ambassador hardly advances Pakistan’s case

However, for the global and American audience, Akram is better known as the “girlfriend beater” Ambassador of Pakistan to the UN who  

According to a New York Times report from 2003 titled ‘U.S. Asks Pakistan to Lift U.N. Envoy’s Immunity After a Violent Quarrel,’ “The State Department has asked Pakistan to withdraw the diplomatic immunity of its envoy here, Munir Akram, after New York City prosecutors sought to bring misdemeanor assault charges against him as a result of a quarrel with a woman, United States and New York City officials said today. Marjorie Tiven, the city commissioner in charge of United Nations issues, wrote to the United States Mission here on Dec. 26 requesting that the envoy’s immunity be removed, according to Edward Skyler, the mayor’s spokesman. Mr. Skyler said the Manhattan district attorney’s office had advised city officials that it was prepared to prosecute if Mr. Akram’s immunity was lifted. Pakistan has not yet informed the United States of any decision.”

The incident dates to “On Dec. 10 at 1:36 a.m., the New York City police were summoned by an emergency 911 call to a residence at 47 East 92nd Street in Manhattan, police officials said. Marijana Mihic, 35, told the 911 operator that a man whom she identified as her husband had smashed her head into a wall and that her arm hurt, according to the police dispatcher’s notes of the conversation. She said the man had hit her before. ”Female caller states husband has diplomatic immunity,” the dispatcher noted. When police officers arrived, Ms. Mihic said that Mr. Akram was her ”boyfriend” and that after an argument with him she had tried to leave. ”He prevented her from leaving, he grabbed her and she fell,” said Lt. Brian Burke, a police spokesman. The police officers at the scene reported that Ms. Mihic had a bruise on her head, he said. Mr. Akram, who is 57, was at the residence when the police arrived and identified himself as an ambassador.”

In the end “A spokesman for the Pakistani Mission said today that Mr. Akram and his friend had reconciled. ”The ambassador and his friend both strongly believe that there is no basis for any legal action in this matter,” said Mansoor Suhail, the spokesman. ”And they have both communicated that belief to the concerned authorities.”

As a Pakistani columnist and analyst Khurram Hussain tweeted, all did not go well during Khan’s US trip for the Ambassador to be removed with such haste!


Author: Shaista Sindhu