|Biographical detail : ||Don of Pakistani diplomacy
Agha Shahi, don of Pakistani diplomacy, remained foreign minister (1977-82), the foreign secretary (1973-77) and served as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN and represented Pakistan in the UN Security Council (1968-69).
For more than a decade, Agha Shahi led Pakistani delegations to the UN General Assembly sessions, conferences of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Conference.
An ‘enlightened realist’, and to promote Pakistan’s national interest, he was reported to have firmly took the position of “handshake with the Americans, not an embrace”, in matters relating to Afghanistan, in the 1980s, to the dislike of then President Zia Ul Haq and, thus, that was believed to be one of the reasons for Agha Shahi’s exit.
In July 1972, when Agha Shahi was Pakistan’s ambassador to China, he was believed to have convinced then Prime Minster Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to play the “China card” to settle the Prisoners of War issue and thwart India’s game plan to use the POW’s card to make Pakistan settle Kashmir issue on its own terms.
Even after his retirement Agha was active and headed the International Council of World Affairs and was the chairman of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad.
Till his last, he followed international affairs and was regularly consulted by the Foreign Office on key issues. On his return from Geneva, Agha Shahi died of a heart attack in Karachi.