This week, Pakistan lost an accomplished diplomat. Not only was he an author of great repute and credibility, he was also a connoisseur of fine music and understated elegance. With the passing away of Ambassador Jamsheed K A Marker in Karachi, Pakistan lost one of its noblest citizens, who left an indelible mark on those he met, and events he participated in. He was a scion of a distinguished Parsi family that migrated to Quetta some two hundred years ago from Iran, and prospered in shipping, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, even though they were better known for their charity and philanthropy. After having served in the Royal British Navy, Marker focused on his family business, while passionately devoted to cricket commentary, where he formed an unforgettable partnership with his friend, Omar Kureshi. They became famous as the inseparable pair of the most astute and knowledgeable commentators on cricket our country has ever seen. In 1965, President Ayub Khan appointed him an Ambassador to a European country, however Marker turned him down, and instead insisted on going to Ghana — a count that had just gained its independence from the British — as he believed stepping on virgin soil would be more challenging! He was Pakistan’s Ambassador to a dozen countries but never sought an extension to his post. In fact, with every change of government, he tendered his resignation as mandated by law, but since no government was willing to lose a person of his experience and repute, he was always reinstate He had initially obtained his mother’s permission to serve abroad for only two years; instead, he was to serve his country with unflinching devotion and unquestioning loyalty that made him the envy of both professional diplomats and political appointees, for an unmatched record of over three decades. He was Pakistan’s Ambassador to a dozen countries, and he never sought an extension to his post either. In fact, with every change of government, he tendered his resignation as mandated by law, but since no government was willing to lose a person of his experience and repute, he was always reinstated. He always preferred a difficult station to a cosy assignment, and as a result he served in some of the most important stations, at the most contentious times in our history. Yet, he always retained the respect and admiration of his opponents. His tenure in Moscow coincided with the civil strife in East Pakistan and the Indo-Pakistan war, in which the Soviet Union was squarely behind India. Nevertheless, he never lost the esteem of his Soviet comrades. It was however, in the US and at the United Nations that Marker’s personality was to blossom. No one did more to project Pakistan as a moderate, modern and progressive Muslim state, than this soft-spoken, mild-mannered gentleman with a perpetual smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. In fact, with Sahabzada Yaqub Khan as the foreign minister in Islamabad and Marker, first in Washington and later at the UN, Pakistan was fortunate in having two profoundly-knowledgeable, deeply-cultured and highly-sophisticated diplomats, who could hold their own in any setting. His tenure in Moscow coincided with the civil strife in East Pakistan and the Indo-Pakistan war, in which the Soviet Union was squarely behind India. Nevertheless, he never lost the esteem of his Soviet comrades Choosing to write his autography was no easy decision for Marker. Reserved and reticent by nature, Marker was torn between his conviction to being fair and honest and his in-born nature to not hurt the sensitivities of friends and colleagues. But he did finally decide to go ahead with this project, for he was convinced that he owed it to the coming generations to share with them his memories and recollections of events that had a profound impact on the destiny of this country. The chapters in his book Quiet Diplomacy on his assignments in Moscow and later in DC, are essential reading for students of history and diplomacy, for they are not only accurate and honest, but loaded with assessments and observations that contain invaluable lessons to those with an interest in foreign affairs. In the twilight of his life, he re-summoned his power to pen another memoir containing his personal interactions with many of Pakistan’s Founding Fathers, in a book called Cover Point. I recommend this book as well, in particular to the youth, so that they can better understand our past, as well as, appreciate that we did have a few, (sadly far too few) outstanding and selfless individuals, whose sacrifices and services did make a difference to this country. Marker never claimed to be in this company, but if anyone did, it certainly would be him. I shall always remain in debt to this kind and affectionate mentor, who with unlimited patience but firm guidance, made me a much better person than what I was when I landed in his Mission in Moscow, raw and callow, on my first diplomatic assignment, back in 1970. It was again my good fortune that he chose me to be his Deputy Head of Mission, when appointed as Ambassador to the United States. There are many others in our diplomatic service that he nursed and nurtured to towering heights. They all owe a huge debt of gratitude to this noble person. So does the nation. May his soul rest in peace! The writer was Pakistan’s ambassador to the EU from 2002-2004 and to the US in 1999. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, June 27th 2018.