Ambassador Masood Khan, Islamabad’s ambassador in Washington, has met US President Joe Biden on his visit to the White House where the two discussed building a "strong basis for moving Pakistan-US ties forward".
According to a press release issued by the Pakistan Embassy in the US, Khan visited the White House for a "meet and greet" and an official photograph with the US president — an established tradition for newly appointed envoys.
"During the ceremony, the US President and the ambassador had a brief conversation on building a strong basis for moving the US-Pakistan ties forward," the statement said.
The US government follows a tradition whereby after the appointment of new ambassadors to Washington, a ceremony is held at the White House where new envoys present their credentials to the head of state conforming to their appointment.
Khan was sent to Washington on March 25, when the PTI government was still in power, but after former prime minister Imran Khan’s ouster on April 11, there was speculation that the change in Islamabad would also impact diplomatic appointments.
Later, Pakistan’s envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Munir Akram, explained that incumbent ambassadors continue to represent the country in foreign capitals unless specifically asked by the new government to return home. Neither Ambassador Khan nor Ambassador Akram was asked to do so.
On his arrival in Washington earlier this week, Khan received a letter from the chief of protocol at the US State Department, endorsing his appointment as Pakistan’s ‘working ambassador’ in Washington.
Later, on April 19, he also received a letter from the US president’s office, formally confirming his appointment.
Meanwhile, the statement issued today said that forty-six other ambassadors were also present there for the official photograph with the President, which was taken one by one. "They too had not been able to call on the President for more than a year because of the Covid-19 restrictions," it added.
Since President Biden’s age, 79, makes him particularly vulnerable to the virus, the White House tried to minimise the president’s contact with others. Diplomatic sources in Washington earlier told Dawn that Covid-19 had also hit the credentials ceremony.
Now, the White House processed all the documents and issues the necessary letters first and then invited an ambassador for the photo session.