Sep 24, 2007 3
Pakistan’s Foreign Office has announced that Muhammad Sadiq, the former deputy chief of mission (DCM) at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, will be replacing Tasnim Aslam as spokesperson. Aslam, a Fletcher School graduate, was the first female to hold the position in Pakistan’s history. She will vacate the position in two weeks, after having served for two years.The appointment of Sadiq as Aslam’s successor indicates the Pakistani government’s desire to bring in a diplomat with significant experience handling the U.S. media. Sadiq served as DCM in Washington from 2002-05. This gave him critical experience in a post-9/11 United States; additionally, Sadiq’s tenure in Washington witnessed a number of other challenges, including the nuclear proliferation scandal involving Abdul Qadeer Khan.
The choice of Sadiq is a step in the right direction, but Islamabad needs a more aggressive and comprehensive communications strategy to counter a discourse on Pakistan in the United States that is not only ill-informed, but increasingly dangerous. Some of my thoughts on how Islamabad can successfully defeat the ‘push on Pakistan’ dynamic are expressed here.