1st female Foreign Minister takes office in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Hina Rabbani Khar yesterday took oath as Pakistan’s 26th Minister of Foreign Affairs just days ahead of the foreign ministerial-level talks with India, the Foreign Ministry said.

She is Pakistan’s first foreign minister and had been working as acting foreign minister after then Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was not given the portfolio in the cabinet reshuffle in February.

“Khar has the distinction of being the youngest and first woman Foreign Minister of Pakistan,” China’ Xinhua news agency quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement.

Hina Rabbani Khar was born on Jan 19, 1977 in the city of Multan in eastern Punjab province in a famous political family, according to her profile on the website of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The Foreign Ministry said Khar is proceeding to Indonesia later this week to lead the Pakistan delegation to the 18th Asean Regional Forum where she is expected to have bilateral meetings with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On return she will go to India for ministerial-level talks as part of the resumed dialogue process with her Indian counterpart SM Krishna, it said.

Khar remained Pakistan’s State Minister for Economic Affairs from 2003 to 2007 under the government of former President Pervez Musharraf.

Khar is also the first woman to present the budget speech in the national assembly on June 13, 2009.

A graduate of University of Massachusetts, she is a businesswoman by profession. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree of Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences in 1999, and received her master degree in Management from University of Massachusetts, the United States, in 2001.

She has her roots in village Khar Gharbi located in Tehsil Kot Addu, and is politically affiliated now with PPP.

She got elected as Member of National Assembly in 2008 elections from Muzaffargarh in Punjab for the second time. Earlier, she won the elections in 2002 from the platform of pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League-Q party and became the Parliamentary Secretary for Economic Affairs and Statistics. – Bernama

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