Multan: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood was on Sunday appointed as the new foreign secretary of the country. Speaking at a news conference, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the decision was taken following discussions with Prime Minister Imran Khan. While expressing his gratitude to incumbent foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua, who is retiring on April 16, Qureshi said he had received a lot of help from her. “She handled challenges excellently in foreign affairs,” he said while praising her for bravery, courage and clarity. Janjua was the first woman to become Pakistan’s foreign secretary. Qureshi also praised Mahmood, who had previously served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Turkey and Thailand. Before that, he was the permanent representative to the UNESCP Bangkok for four years till 2013. “Even now, after the Pulwama incident took place, he came to the headquarters for consultations and I benefited from his experience,” the foreign minister said. The Foreign Minister again invited the opposition to sit with the government and cooperate on issues of national importance. He said Pakistan is facing various challenges on external front, including, Indian aggression, attempts to isolate Pakistan at international level and efforts to push Pakistan from grey list into black list of the Financial Action Task Force. The Minister said the situation demands that the government and the opposition should set aside their differences and cooperate on these issues. He said the government has decided to appoint Mahmood as next Secretary Foreign Affairs after the superannuation of Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua on 16th of next month. Qureshi said Sohail Mahmood, who is currently high commissioner of Pakistan in New Delhi, is a senior diplomat and has also served in Washington, New York, Turkey and Thailand. He expressed the confidence that Sohail Mahmood will represent Pakistan well as foreign secretary like his predecessor Tehmina Janjua.