ISLAMABAD, Jan 12: The government has appointed seven women from the foreign service cadre as ambassadors to important world capitals.
“It is the first time that we have so many women officers designated as ambassadors,” Riaz Syed, the director-general of research at the ministry of foreign affairs, told Dawn on Saturday.
All of the women officers are career diplomats and most of them have been posted to the European countries. Their names and countries of posting are: Fauzia Nasreen, ambassador to Poland; Durre Shahwar Qureshi, ambassador to Kazakhstan; Riffat Iqbal, ambassador to Ireland; Shireen Safdar, ambassador to Portugal; Kausar Ehsan Iqbal, ambassador to Algeria; Fauzia Abbas, ambassador to Switzerland; and Humaira Hasan, ambassador to Romania. Ms Abbas and Ms Hasan will take charge next month.
Another career diplomat, Ra’ana Rahim, heads Pakistan’s consulate in Los Angeles.
Officials say there are about six other women officials who hold the number two positions in various missions abroad. One of them is Attiya Mahmood who is deputy high commissioner in London.
Asma Aneesa, who recently served as ambassador to a Central Asian Republic, is now on the directing staff at the National Defence College.
Dr Maleeha Lodhi, Begum Abida Hussain and Begum Shakila Rashid were among the political appointees who held ambassadorial posts in the nineties. Dr Lodhi and Begum Hussain have both served in Washington D.C.
Begum Salma Jan was among the first career women diplomats to be appointed ambassador.
Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan was Pakistan’s first woman ambassador. She served as representative of Pakistan to the 7th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1952.
Begum Zubaida Habib, Begum Z.H.I. Rahim, and Begum Ikramullah also served as representatives of Pakistan to the General Assembly in the fifties.