Marking the end of his standard three-year diplomatic posting tenure, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner is expected to leave Pakistan by mid-January 2023.
However, an announcement regarding the appointment of a new high commissioner is pending. To cover the interim period until the arrival of Turner’s successor, Andrew Dalgleish, the deputy high commissioner, will assume the office of the chargé d’affaires.
According to a statement released by the Government of UK, Dr Turner will be taking up his new role in London as Director General Geopolitical (Political Director) at the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) after his return from Pakistan where he has been posted since December 2019.
“Over his three years as High Commissioner, Turner oversaw the UK’s Covid-19 repatriation efforts, welcomed a UK Foreign Secretary visit, lobbied for and secured direct flights from the UK to Pakistan, initiated a drive to double UK-Pakistan trade by 2025,” the statement read.
Taking to Twitter, Turner wrote: “Pakistan, I will miss you.”
In his tenure, the British diplomat also ensured that the UK led the flood crisis response in Pakistan from the forefront. He also played a crucial role in promoting sports diplomacy between Pakistan and the UK, particularly in assisting the return of the England Men’s cricket team to play a Test series after a 17-year hiatus.
A month ahead of his tenure’s end, Turner said: “The last three years have been some of the most rewarding of my life, both professionally and personally. I will continue closely to follow Pakistan’s future in my new role in London.”
Turner, before his appointment as high commissioner in Pakistan, was the British prime minister’s international affairs adviser and deputy national security adviser from April 2017 to July 2019. Previously, he served as the director general, political (acting) and director general for the Middle East and Africa during which he led the UK organisation of the London Syria Conference in February 2016.
As the high commissioner, the diplomat also lived in Kenya from 2012 to 2015. He was the Middle East and North Africa region’s director for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and has held several portfolios in different capacities for the foreign office, 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office between 1997 and 2008.
Turner has a PhD and was known for making television documentaries before he joined the government.