Islamabad, July 22: The chief of Pakistan's Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has criticised the appointment of Hina Rabbani Khar as the new Foreign Minister, saying it was not a “wise decision” to have a woman holding the post.
Khar, 34, this week became Pakistan's youngest and first woman Foreign Minister. But Rehman said the decision to give the slot to a woman cannot be called a wise decision. “We have reservations over the decision and we do not know who she will represent (Pakistan) on the diplomatic front,” he told reporters at parliament yesterday.
Rehman said Khar is a businesswoman and “does not have any diplomatic and political experience” and pointed out that she would now face an experienced and wise leader in S M Krishna when she travels to India for talks. Khar was appointed by President Asif Ali Zardari on the advice of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and both leaders praised her shortly after she took oath as the country's 26th Foreign Minister.
She will have important engagements in coming days, including ministerial-level talks in New Delhi on July 27. Khar will travel to Indonesia this week to attend an ASEAN conference, where she is expected to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Chinese Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the meet.
Referring to the upcoming talks with India, Rehman said Khar will face a “very senior, experienced and wise” leader when she meets Krishna on July 27. “What priorities will our new Foreign Minister have and how will she fight Pakistan's case?” said Rehman, who heads a special parliamentary committee on Kashmir. “I have very old relations with her family and this is a relationship of mutual respect, but that is a different thing,” Rehman said.
He expressed serious concern at the arrest of Kashmiri separatist leader Ghulam Nabi Fai in the US for allegedly funnelling funds provided by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and said Fai had lived in America for nearly 40 years and worked for the Kashmir cause.
US authorities have said that Fai had been covertly working for the Pakistani government and intelligence agencies and had provided funds to US lawmakers to win their support on the Kashmir issue. PTI