Home Editorial Editorial: In Remembrance of Shaharyar M. Khan (1934-2024)

Editorial: In Remembrance of Shaharyar M. Khan (1934-2024)

Whether as a distinguished diplomat or chairperson of the PCB, Khan served Pakistan with utmost dedication

by Editorial
Shaharyar R. Khan

File photo

Shaharyar M. Khan, one of Pakistan’s most renowned diplomats, passed away in Lahore at 89 years old on March 23, prompting an outpouring of grief from the many people who knew him as a well-mannered and distinguished person. Hailing from a distinguished family of nawabs, he made a name for himself in Pakistan as a remarkably effective member of the Pakistan Foreign Service from 1957 and 1994, when he served in various roles, including foreign secretary, ambassador and high commissioner. In a statement, the Foreign Office paid tribute to his “monumental services in protecting Pakistan’s diplomatic interests,” while Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif described Khan as an experienced diplomat who played an “excellent role in promoting Pakistan’s relations with other countries.” He also recognized Khan’s services as the chairperson of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for two separate tenures.

Having migrated to Pakistan in 1950, Khan was a son of Princess Abida Sultan of the nawabs of Bhopal. In Pakistan, he spent a year with Burmah Shell Oil before joining the Foreign Service in 1957. In 1960, he was posted Third Secretary in the Pakistani High Commission in London, getting promoted to Second Secretary in the Tunis embassy, from 1962 to 1966. Subsequently, Khan became Pakistan’s ambassador to Jordan (1976–1982); and the United Kingdom (1987–1990). In 1994, he was appointed the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative in Rwanda. He also served as chairman on the Committee on Foreign Service Reforms (1997–1999), and Pakistan’s Ambassador to France (1999–2001). Pakistan’s mission at the U.N. recalled Khan as a “legendary public servant who served Pakistan with utmost dedication.”

His most recent stint was as chairperson of the PCB, with incumbent chairman Mohsin Naqvi issuing a statement mourning his passing. “He was a fine administrator and served Pakistan Cricket with utmost dedication. Pakistan Cricket will stay indebted to the late Shaharyar Khan for his commendable role as head of the board and for his services in the growth and development of the game in the country,” he said. His passing was also mourned across the border in India. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor recalled Khan’s lineage as a member of the Bhopal royal family and as a co-author with himself on Shadows Across the Playing Field, a book on the history of Pak-Indo cricket. “A fine human being, a refined intellect and a genuine advocate of good neighborly relations between our countries, he will be deeply mourned in India,” he said.

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