Diplomat turned president of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) , Sardar Masood Khan is Pakistan’s new ambassador to the US. He retired as the president of PoK in August this year.
During his tenure as President, Khan was actively involved with all terror organisations including Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). Known for his anti-India tirades, Khan was often seen with the UN designated terrorist and chief of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), Syed Salahuddin, the Hizbul chief and others. In 2017, when the Trump administration of the US declared the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) chief Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist, Masood Khan had warned that a “Trump-Modi nexus” could spell disaster to regional peace. Salahuddin is also the chairman of the United Jihad Council, a Kashmiri umbrella group for terrorists backed by the Pakistani regime and has been waging war against India since the 1990s.
In July this year, while serving as president of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Khan delivered a "special message" on Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, who was killed in 2016 during his fifth death anniversary.
"We grieve today for Burhan Wani… He lives on in our hearts. He sacrificed his life for a cause," he said at the event.
According to a US based magazine National Review, a report titled, “A Terror Supporter Goes to Washington”, Masood Khan is a dangerous radical with a long history of working with Islamists in the West and jihadists in the East.
“His appointment is evidence of an increasingly dangerous Pakistani regime, which is working to co-opt and support Islamists all around the world, including in the United States”, the report says.
According to the report, Masood Khan has been associated with all major terror outfits from al-Qaeda to Taliban to Haqqani Network to South Asian Islamic Movement Jamaat-e-Islami- all Pakistani backed terror outfits. It was Jamat-e-Islami whose killing squads helped the Pakistani army carry out acts of genocide against Bangladeshis in 1971 Khan, in one event, “paid tributes to Jamaat Islami Pakistan for playing an active role in Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir,” says the report.
While Pakistani media is silent about the “jihadi” Khan’s link with the terror groups, the Pakistani diplomatic circles and experts are questioning Imran Khan’s choice of Khan as an ambassador to the US.
There is discontent among the Pakistani diplomatic circle. “How can PM Imran Khan appoint a former president in an ambassadorial position, it makes a mockery of the office of the president of Azad Kashmir (AJK)”. Pakistan calls PoK as AJK and claims to be an independent country which has its own parliament, a prime minister and a president but the so-called “AJK” is neither ‘Azad’ (independent) nor sovereign and the president and prime minister function as agents of Islamabad.
Masood Khan is a career diplomat. He has been picked for trusted roles, from serving as an ambassador to China from 2008 to 2012, being Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN in 2012, to being posted in Geneva and finally retired in 2015. Masood Khan was appointed as the 27th President of Azad Kashmir as Pakistan calls POK, by the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2016.
According to Pakistani sources, Khan, as president of PoK, was very vocal about Kashmir and India’s so-called “oppression” in Kashmir. The Pakistani government has sent the notification paper for Masood Khan to the US State Department and is waiting for the approval from the Biden administration.
It has been 10 months and Imran Khan has still been waiting for a call from the US president Joe Biden. Frustrated, Khan blamed his envoy in Washington. In a leaked letter, written by his foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to the current Pakistani Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan, Qureshi expressed concern over the inability of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington to create an environment for diplomatic communication between the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the President of the United States.