Noel Israel Khokhar has been nominated as Pakistan’s ambassador to Ukraine, Ukraine House Pakistan, a nonprofit that works to improve relations between Ukraine and Pakistan, reported on July 21.
The Embassy of Pakistan in Ukraine confirmed the nomination to the Kyiv Post, saying that the appointment is currently pending approval by Ukrainian diplomats and that it will likely receive it.
If approved in August or September as planned, Khokhar will begin work in November. The press service of the embassy said it cannot give more details before the candidacy is approved.
The ninth Pakistani ambassador to Ukraine, Khokhar will become the first Christian to ever represent the country as an ambassador.
Before the nomination, Major General Khokhar served in a variety of command and staff positions in the Pakistan Army, as well as with the United Nations.
He also used to work as an instructor in the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Command Staff College in Quetta and the National Defense University in Islamabad.
Khokhar’s predecessor, Ambassador Zahid Mubashir Sheikh, has been in Ukraine since 2018.
His likely successor Khokhar studied military science at École Militaire Interarmes in Paris and the Royal College of Defense Studies in the U.K. He also has a PhD in international relations from King’s College London.
Khokhar’s military background will not be out of place in Ukraine. The two countries’ trade relations are predominantly defined by sales of defense technology, worth more than $1 billion since the 1990s. And it’s mostly Ukraine selling military equipment to Pakistan, including battlefield tanks and other weaponry.
Pakistan also does not support sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and does not declare Moscow the aggressor.
In 2011, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari awarded Khokhar the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second-highest civilian award given to both civilians and military officers of the Pakistan Armed Forces, for his “contribution to the security or national interests of Pakistan.”
Ukraine’s ambassador to Pakistan was also changed recently. On April 17, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed Volodymyr Lakomov, who had served as Ukraine’s ambassador to Pakistan since 2012. Instead, diplomat Markiyan Chuchuk became the new ambassador of Ukraine to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
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