Pakistan on Monday appointed Tehmina Janjua as its first woman foreign secretary. Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva will replace Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in the first week of March.
The other senior diplomats who were in the race to become the country’s 29th foreign secretary including Pakistan’s high commissioner to India Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s high commissioner to the UK Syed Ibne Hasan, former ambassador to France Ghalib Iqbal and current ambassador to Denmark Masroor Junejo.
Pakistan’s diplomatic establishment have mentioned that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was unhappy with Basit for failing to convince India into returning to talks. According to sources, Sharif approved Janjua’s name last summer when she was in Islamabad for envoys’ conference.
Janjua earlier worked as an ambassador to Italy. She also worked as a spokesperson of the foreign office for two years.
She in 2016 had led Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts to get the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to visit Kashmir after the death of more than 90 civilians in clashes with Indian security forces.
Last September, Janjua said at the UN in Geneva, “Pakistan supports the position of the high commissioner that an OHCHR team should visit India-occupied Kashmir to independently and impartially investigate the grave violations being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces over the past two months.”
In August 2014 on the eve of foreign secretary talks with India Basit failed to hold talks with India. The Narendra Modi government cancelled the talk despite a series of attempts.
But recently, the both sides showed their interest to keep diplomatic channels open. Last week, Pakistan’s minister for planning and development Ahsan Iqbal said to a think tank in Washington that the ongoing state elections in India were resuming the peace talk.
He said, “We are hoping that by March these state elections will be over and maybe then there will be a better environment to pursue peace talks with India. But we are totally committed.”
However, India denied the suggestion that state election was a reason for resuming the talks.