Day after Imran Khan returns from US, Pakistan removes Maleeha Lodhi as permanent representative to U.N.

Islamabad, Islamabad, PakistanWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: Oct 01, 2019, 08:04 AM IST

File photo: Maleeha Lodhi. Photograph:(WION)

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The Pakistan Foreign Office statement said Munir Akram has been appointed as the permanent representative to the United Nations.

A day after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan left New York after a week-long visit to United Nation General Assembly, Islamabad has announced that it has replaced its envoy to United Nations Maleeha Lodhi.

A statement from Pakistani foreign ministry said, "The Prime Minister has been pleased to make the following appointments.. Ambassador Munir Akram has been appointed as Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York, in place of Dr Maleeha Lodhi."

Imran Khan, who was supposed to leave New York on Friday, left the city on Saturday after the plane gifted by Saudis returned due to technical issues.

In a tweet, Lodhi said, "It has been an honour to serve the country & am grateful for the opportunity to do so for over four years. Representing Pakistan at the world’s most important multilateral forum was a great privilege. I had planned to move on after UNGA following a successful visit by the PM"

Her tenure saw Maleeha using a picture of to lead an attack on India at the United Nations which turned out to be fake news. In 2017, Lodhi showed a picture of a girl which she claimed was proof of Indian actions in Kashmir but it turned out to be an image of a Palestinian girl taken in Gaza by award-winning photographer Heidi Levine in 2014.

 Earlier last week she tweeted a picture of bilateral meet between Pakistani PM Imran Khan and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson but called Johnson a "foreign minister". Earlier this year she was heckled in New York for an event for not being able to deliver for Pakistan at U.N.

She also tried to raise Kashmir at the United Nations security council after August 5 decision of New Delhi to remove the special status for Jammu and Kashmir but the attempt failed. She later addressed the media saying the voice of Kashmiris has been raised in the highest "diplomatic forum" but took no questions. Indian envoy Syed Akbaruddin not only took questions but also responded to questions by Pakistani media. 

He successor, Munir Akram was Pakistani envoy to U.N. from 2002 to 2008 but was dismissed over disagreements with the then President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari. In 2002 he was involved in violence against his partner Marijana Mihic but was not charged with the crime by Manhattan police due to his diplomatic immunity.

Fallouts have also been seen in Houston, Texas which saw the biggest diaspora event of Indian Americans-Howdy Modi last week in which 50,000 people participated. The event saw Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump sharing the stage and lauding contributions made by Indian Americans to the American society.

Abrar Hussain Hashmi has been appointed as the new Pakistani consul general in Houston, Texas. Aisha Farooqui the Pakistani consul general was removed by the Pakistani government when it was announced that the city will be hosting the biggest Indian diaspora event. Pakistan had dispatched federal minister Ali Amin Chandrapur to spearhead the protest while Howdy Modi was underway.