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Army-basher Khawaja Muhammad Asif is Pakistan’s foreign minister

ISLAMABAD: In a show of defiance, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif ‘s party appointed Khawaja Muhammad Asif, a trenchant critic of the military, as Pakistan’s foreign minister. Incidentally, Asif is also infamous for his downright sexist and misogynist views. An outspoken loyalist of Sharif, Asif is known for his critical statements about the role of the military in civilian domain. Sharif had appointed him defence minister in 2013 after getting elected as PM for the third time. The post was lying vacant for more than four years. The military leadership had tried to pressure Sharif in 2014 into removing Khawaja as defence minister for his statement that the Imran Khan-led anti-government sit-in was orchestrated by Army generals. But, Sharif had refused to cow down to the lobbying for his removal. As defence minister, Asif routinely skipped civilmilitary huddles that followed. As foreign minister, Asif would now be required to interact with top military and intelligence authorities -and indirectly on behalf of Sharif, who has been barred by the supreme court. A senior serving diplomat, ” Asif is not qualified in the art and craft of diplomacy and international relations.He cannot demonstrate an analytical temperament.” As a lawmaker, Asif has also made sexist remarks on the floor of the House or through tweets. Targeting Shireen Maza ri of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Party last year, Asif had said, “Someone make this tractor trolley keep quiet.” She and other lawmakers were protesting against his speech on power outages.

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