ISLAMABAD    -    The federal government is still unsure about ap­pointing a new Foreign Secretary as the incum­bent Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood nears his retirement. Several names are being considered by the government for the important slot but none of them has been finalized yet.

Foreign Ministry sources told The Nation that the government had considered giving extension to So­hail Mahmood to buy time to finalise a name but this option had almost been dropped. “The extension is hardly possible now. The government can give only an extension of three months, so they have decided to go for a new one instead,” said a knowledgeable source. He said Pakistan’s Ambassador to Türkiye Syras Qazi who is in BPS-21 was the front runner for the slot although many names are on the table.

Pakistan Ambassador to Italy Johar Saleem, Am­bassador to China Moinul Haq, High Commission­er to Canada Zaheer Janjua and Ambassador to Belgium Dr Asad Majeed are among the other can­didates. “The foreign secretary should have been nominated by now. There is hardly any time left. The government seems a bit confused on the ap­pointment,” said another source.