Hina Rabbani Khar was sworn in as Foreign Minister on Tuesday evening; five months after she entered the Ministry as Minister of State (MoS). She was sworn in by Acting President Farooq H. Naek in the absence of President Asif Ali Zardari who is presently visiting Afghanistan.
Ms. Khar’s elevation is being linked to her upcoming visit to India for the foreign minister-level engagement next week. Though she has been representing Pakistan in international fora and interacting with counterparts from other countries including British Foreign Secretary William Hague, much was made of her visiting India for the ministerial engagement as an MoS.
Hours before her elevation, Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal called on her at the Foreign Office to discuss the New Delhi meeting. Expressing satisfaction at the resumption of full spectrum dialogue and progress made so far, she stressed the need for the dialogue process to be uninterrupted and uninterruptible.
At 34, Ms. Khar is the youngest and first woman Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Born into a political family, she switched from the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) to the Pakistan People’s Party before the 2008 elections.
Before heading for New Delhi, Ms. Khar will be in Indonesia later this week leading the Pakistan delegation to the 18th ASEAN Regional Forum where she is expected to have bilateral meetings with U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi.
The Foreign Minister-level engagement between India and Pakistan will be held on July 27 in New Delhi, according to a reference made in a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday.
Though the foreign ministries of the two countries are yet to make an official announcement in this regard, a PMO statement regarding a meeting between Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Ms. Khar on Monday said she briefed him about her “scheduled Ministerial Dialogue with India on 27th July in New Delhi”. Hindu