Moazzam Ahmad Khan Image Credit: Ashfaq Ahmed/Gulf News

Dubai: The Pakistan government has appointed seasoned diplomat Moazzam Ahmad Khan as the new ambassador to the UAE, a senior official told Gulf News.

Khan is expected to take charge at the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi later this month. He replaces Asif Ali Durrani, who completed his three-year term and returned to Pakistan on July 20. Durrani has been given a new assignment as ambassador of Pakistan to Iran.

A senior Pakistani official said that the appointment of Khan is a good move as he is an experienced officer and has the capabilities to improve diplomatic and economic relations. He said that the Pakistan government hopes that Khan will also help further improve relations between the UAE and Pakistan. “Serving in the UAE is a tough job for any Pakistani ambassador due to regional developments. Also, handling and meeting expectations of a huge Pakistani expatriate community comprising some 1.4 million in the UAE is not an easy job,” he noted.

The ambassador designate to the UAE is currently serving as ambassador to the Netherlands. He enjoys a good reputation in the Pakistan Foreign Office and is known as a competent officer. He is a career diplomat, who joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1986 and has represented Pakistan in various capacities.

Before taking up the position of ambassador to the Netherlands, he was the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2012-2013. He also served as director-general (Foreign Minister’s Office) and director-general (Europe). He worked in the position of a minister at the Embassy of Pakistan, Washington DC. In addition to his numerous other assignments, he also served as a Counselor at the High Commission of Pakistan in India from 2003-2006.

He holds a masters in International Relations and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University, School for Advance International Studies, USA.

Khan, 54, has three children and his wife, Leena Salim Moazzam, is also a career diplomat. She has served as Ambassador of Pakistan to Portugal.

Currently, the Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai has been operating without a Consul General since March this year since the last consul general, Javed Jalil Khattak, was removed unceremoniously without completing his tenure on the complaints of the community leaders in the UAE.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself had issued instructions to call back Khattak “with immediate effect” following a meeting with some community leaders from the UAE. The community members had complained against his high-handed attitude and incidents of nepotism and recruitment in Pakistani schools without following legal procedures. Since then, the position has been vacant and head of chancery Samar Javed is serving as Acting Consul General.