Pakistan backing out?

It appears now that Pakistan may be backing off from fielding its own candidate against India’s Tharoor, and instead may throw its support behind either Sri Lanka’s Dhanapala or Thailand’s Surakiart as a consensus candidate. 

Key foreign office aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, now say that Islamabad is likely to focus on the need for a consensus candidate for the UN top post, and does not see India’s nominee, Shashi Tharoor, as a sure shot candidate.

Earlier, there were rumours that Pakistan’s possible candidates were Prime Minster Shaukat Aziz and Munir Akram, its Permanent Representative at the United Nations. But now, if sources are to be believed, Aziz is keen on retaining his present job till 2012, while Akram is seen as being too crucial to be removed from the UN as yet.

Pakistan made strong declarations in the last week that it would be fielding a candidate and has since been canvassing missions in New York. But the recent “change of heart” may indicate a lack of enthusiasm both by its candidates and for them. (Dr. Nafis Sadik has told friends she has no interest in being UNSG.)

It’s still too early to tell where Pakistan will come out, but if it does go multilateral, it could only be damaging to Tharoor’s campaign and a boon to the candidate that secures the endorsement.

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