State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar having a meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupanma Rao at Foreign Office in Islamabad.-Online

ISLAMABAD: The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, on Friday confirmed that she was being elevated as federal minister for foreign affairs.

A statement by the Foreign Office said Ms Khar had told Indian Foreign Secretary Ms Nirupama Rao that “I am looking forward very much to my meetings in New Delhi”.

Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan are likely to meet in the last week of next month to conclude the ongoing series of meetings under the revived peace talks.

Ms Khar, who has been looking after the foreign ministry as a junior minister, technically cannot represent the country at ministerial level meetings. Therefore, her elevation, being rumoured for some time, would remove the protocol hitch in the upcoming ministerial engagement with India.

But Indian sources say she is not taken seriously in Delhi.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) ran a story on her expected elevation saying “Khar … as a full-fledged Foreign Minister would suit the powerful military establishment, which shapes and guides foreign policy, as she is not perceived to be as independent-minded as (Shah Mehmood) Qureshi” (the former foreign minister.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi lost the ministry in a cabinet reshuffle in February, which some say was because of the tough stance he took on the issue of immunity of CIA operative Raymond Davis, who fatally shot two youth in Lahore.

During her meeting with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague Ms Khar presented herself as acting foreign minister, something that was also reflected in the British High Commission’s press releases.