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Who is Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan's new junior foreign minister?

Hina Rabbani Khar has joined Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's council of ministers as the junior foreign minister on April 19 for a second term. Let's know more about her

Who is Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan's new junior foreign minister
First Published Apr 20, 2022, 7:08 PM IST

After a span of 11 years, senior Pakistan People's Party leader Hina Rabbani Khar has once again assumed the charge of one of the top cabinet berths in the newly-elected Shehbaz Sharif government.

Khar, who had accused the previous dispensation under Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan of spoiling relations with the United States and making Pakistan a laughing stock, will have to mend Islamabad's ties with Washington and other nations, including India. Under Imran Khan's leadership, Pakistan had tense relations with India.  

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has inducted Khar into his council of ministers as the junior foreign minister on April 19 for a second term. The first stint was in 2011 when Yousaf Raza Gillani was the prime minister and Asif Ali Zardari was the president. 

Let's know about her in detail

Born into a politically and financially powerful family in Multan in 1977, Khar took the plunge into politics at the age of 25 after her return from the United States.

Her father Ghulam Rabbani Khar, who died earlier this year in January, was also a politician and had been a member of the Pakistan National Assembly. 

Having graduated from Lahore University of Management Science, she had gone to the US to pursue a Master's Degree from the University of Massachusetts.

Khar's role as foreign minister

In Pakistan, no woman had held the charge of the external affairs ministry till Khar assumed it in 2011 and 2022. She was one of the youngest ministers to hold the charge. 

During her previous two-year tenure, she had played an instrumental role in mending ties with New Delhi and Kabul. Khar was also a vocal leader in reducing Pakistan's dependence on the United States.  

Soon after becoming the minister in 2011, she arrived in India for bilateral dialogue that was suspended after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. 

She had discussed bilateral trade and Kashmir with her 79-year-old Indian counterpart SM Krishna. She was just 34 then. Ahead of talks, she had also met hardliner Kashmiri separatists that did not go well with the then Manmohan Singh-led UPA II government at the Centre.  

In 2016, Khar, in an interview, said that Kashmir could not be conquered through war; it can only be resolved through dialogue based on an 'environment of mutual trust with India'.

In love with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari 

About 10 years ago, Khar's romance with then Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's minor son Bilawal Bhutto was the talk of the town. She was the minister then. 

Senior Zardari had even reprimanded her to stay away from his son. Khar had threatened to resign from the ministry while junior Bhutto from the post of Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party. 

The duo had planned to get married and settle in Switzerland. There were rumours that Hina and Bilawal were found in a compromising position inside the President's house. They were caught red-handed by her spouse Feroze Gulzar and Asif Zardari. Their video also reportedly went viral after the incident.

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