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Shamshad Ahmad ( ) is a senior Pakistani diplomat with over 37-years of practitioner's experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, regional cooperation, preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution. He was the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan at an important period in India-Pakistan relations, from 1997 to 2000. He retired as Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations in 2002.

He currently writes a weekly column for English daily The News. Before that he was a regular contributor to The Nation. He also writes occasionally for Dawn.


Shamshad Ahmad did his Masters in Political Science and B.A (Hons) from Government College Lahore before joining Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1965.

Diplomatic career

His diplomatic career includes various posts at headquarters in Islamabad and in Pakistan missions abroad. He served as Ambassador to South Korea (1987-1990) and Iran (1990-1992), as Secretary-General, Economic Cooperation Organization (1992-1996), Pakistan's Foreign Secretary (1997-2000), and as Pakistan's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN (2000-2002).

As Secretary-General of ECO, a regional cooperation organization headquartered in Tehranmarker, he steered its expansion in 1992 from a trilateral entity (Iran, Pakistan and Turkey) into a 10-member regional organization with the induction of seven new members, namely, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, giving it a new global dimension and fresh regional framework and common socio-economic development strategy.

Foreign Secretary

As Pakistan's Foreign Secretary, he managed and executed his country's foreign policy during an extraordinary period of its history that saw the resumption of India-Pakistan peace process, overt nuclearization of South Asia, the Kargil War and the October 12, 1999 military coup. He signed the June 23, 1997 agreement in Islamabad with his Indian counterpart Salman Haider on resumption of India-Pakistan peace process which is today the basis of the ongoing "composite dialogue" between the two countries.

In the aftermath of India-Pakistan nuclear tests in May 1998, he played a key role in promoting mutual "restraint and responsibility" between India and Pakistan, and on the occasion of the Lahore Summit, signed a memorandum of understanding with his Indian counterpart on February 21, 1999, laying down a framework of mutual "nuclear risk reduction" and other confidence-building measures aimed at preventing the risk of nuclear conflict and unauthorized or accidental use of nuclear weapons.

Shamshad Ahmad also held eight rounds of talks with his US counterpart Strobe Talbott from May 1998 to February 1999 on issues of peace and security in South Asia, including nuclear and strategic stability stabilization measures.

Pakistan Ambassador to UN

During his tenure as Ambassador to the United Nations, he co-chaired UN General Assembly's Working Group on Conflict Resolution and Sustainable Development in Africa, and also served as Senior Consultant to the UN on economic and social matters (2002-2003) with particular focus on sustainable development and poverty alleviation.


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