Pakistan has named its first female foreign minister during an extremely sensitive period in the country’s history.
Hina Rabbani Khar, who is reportedly 34 years old, is also the youngest foreign minister in Pakistan’s history.
Still reeling from the fallout over the discovery of Osama bin Laden living in a compound in northern Pakistan two months ago (and the subsequent suspension of billions in aid from the U.S.), the Islamabad regime is again under suspicion following another terrorist attack in Mumbai, India.
Khar will be meeting with her Indian counterpart, S. M. Krishna, in New Delhi later this month to re-start crucial peace talks between the two South Asian nuclear giants. Such negotiations were broken off after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Formerly a deputy foreign minister, Khar succeeds Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who lost his job earlier in the year in a dispute with the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party
According to a report in BBC, there is much skepticism over appointing someone so young and inexperienced into such an important government post.
For example, she has a post-graduate in hotel management from the University of Massachusetts in the US and is the daughter of Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar, a prominent landowner in Punjab province and influential politician.
However, she has some positives. A BBC correspondent wrote of her: “She is educated and articulate. She is also a young and photogenic woman. International interlocutors and the global television audience may find her a welcome change from Pakistan's infamous, invariably male old guard.”
Before she meets in India later this month, she will confer with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations in Indonesia.