ISLAMABAD: Senior diplomat Tehmina Janjua on Monday became the first woman to have been appointed foreign secretary, said an official statement.

“The prime minister has been pleased to appoint Ms Tehmina Janjua as the new foreign secretary. She will assume the post of foreign secretary in the first week of March 2017,” said the statement issued by the Foreign Office.

Ms Janjua would replace the incumbent Aizaz Chaudhry, who has been posted as ambassador to the United States. She has been picked ahead of a number of senior officers.

Major contenders for the post included High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Ibne Abbas.

One of the factors that went in her favour was strong recommendations that the Foreign Office’s leadership made for her.

Although Hina Rabbani Khar has served as the foreign minister (2011-13), no woman has ever held the post of foreign secretary in the country before Ms Janjua.

The FO statement said, “She (Ms Janjua) is a seasoned diplomat with a career spanning over 32 years. She has rich experience of working in bilateral and multilateral domains — both at the headquarters and missions abroad. She also served as... (the) spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs during 2011.”

Ms Janjua has been serving as ambassador and Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva since October 2015. She previously worked as ambassador to Italy from December 2011 to October 2015.

Her experience has predominantly been in multilateral diplomacy serving in the UN — both at New York and Geneva.

Published in Dawn February 14th, 2017

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