Hina Rabbani Khar to be Pakistan’s youngest foreign minister (Lead)

July 18th, 2011 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, July 18 (IANS) Hina Rabbani Khar, 34, will be elevated as the new foreign minister of Pakistan, a media report said Monday. Her elevation comes barely a week ahead of crucial India-Pakistan talks to be held in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has sent to President Asif Ali Zardari the papers for making Khar the new foreign minister, the Geo News reported.

Khar was the minister of state for foreign affairs.

The foreign minister’s post became vacant after Shah Mahmood Qureshi was left out of the cabinet after a reshuffle.

Khar is scheduled to travel to New Delhi for the foreign minister level talks July 26-27.

At 34, Khar is the youngest foreign minister in Pakistan’s history, beating the record of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was 35 when he took over the portfolio in the Ayub Khan regime.

Khar is the niece of Pakistani politician Ghulam Mustafa Khar, the main subject of “My Feudal Lord”, an unflattering biography by his ex-wife Tehmina Durrani.

The foreign ministers’ talks in New Delhi were preceded by talks between Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao met in Islambad June 23-24.

The foreign secretaries discussed a range of issues relating to peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir, and promotion of friendly exchanges.

Both countries vowed to carry forward the dialogue — suspended after the November 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai — in “a constructive and purposeful manner”.

The outgoing Indian foreign secretary has said that a change in Pakistan’s attitude constituted a concrete development.

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