In a major reshuffle of diplomats, Pakistan on Monday removed Maleeha Lodhi and appointed Munir Akram as the country's permanent representative to the United Nations.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan approved the appointment of Ambassador Munir Akram as Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. Maleeha Lodhi has held the office of Pakistan's envoy to the UN since February 2015. Munir Akram has served as Pakistan's permanent representative to UN for six years between 2002 and 2008.
The development comes days after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's bombastic address at the UN. In his speech that went on for about 50 minutes, far exceeding the 15-minute limit for UN speeches during the General Debate, Khan devoted half of his address to the Kashmir issue, warning that if there's face-off between two nuclear-armed neighbours, the consequences would be far beyond their borders. His war rhetoric was in sharp contrast to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's peace message from the same podium few minutes earlier in which he said India is a country, that has "given the world, not war, but Buddha's message of peace."
The Domestic violence case: Munir Akram
While serving as Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram courted controversy after being accused of domestic violence by his partner, Marijana Mihic, in December 2002. According to a New York Times report, the case was settled out of the court and he was not charged with the crime due to his diplomatic immunity.
During the Christmas and New Year celebrations in 2002, the New York City Police received a distress call from a woman crying about being beaten up by her "husband". The woman told a 911 operator that her head was smashed on the wall by her "husband", states a NYT report from 2003. The 911 operator noted that the woman also said that the accused man had diplomatic immunity. When police officials arrived at Munir Akram's Manhattan residence to attend to the emergency call, the woman said he was her boyfriend and that an argument broke out between the two and she tried to leave when he attacked her.
Munir Akram was present at the house when the police arrived. The police failed to take any action against him over his diplomatic immunity from being booked in local crimes.
The Gaffe Queen: Maleeha Lodhi
In a major goof-up, Maleeha Lodhi called British Prime Minister Boris Johnson the UK’s “Foreign Minister” on Twitter. Boris Johnson was appointed as the United Kingdom’s new prime minister in July this year. “Prime Minister Imran Khan met British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson this morning,” Lodhi tweeted as she posted a picture of the meeting. Lodhi deleted the tweet after around an hour and put out another picture but not before being trolled on Twitter for the goof-up. "Sorry typo in previous tweet. Prime Minister Imran Khan Met British PM this morning (sic),” she posted.
Maleeha Lodhi has caused embarrassment to Pakistan in the past as well. Lodhi goofed up at United Nations when she used a picture from Gaza to show the so-called "Indian atrocities in Kashmir." However, the image turned out to be of 17-year-old Rawya Abu Jom who was injured when two Israeli airstrikes hit her family's apartment in Gaza during the 2014 war. Levine had criticised the Pakistani diplomat’s gaffe as being “unfair for the dignity of Rawya (the injured Palestinian girl) who is still struggling to overcome her injuries,” while speaking to news agency ANI.