Published On: Mon, Feb 13th, 2017

Tehmina Janjua becomes Pakistan’s first woman Foreign Secretary

Islamabad: Tehmina Janjua was on Monday named Pakistan’s new Foreign Secretary, becoming the first woman to become the country’s top diplomat.

Janjua served as Ambassador of Pakistan to Italy from December 2011 to October 2015

Janjua, who pipped several senior colleagues including High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit, will succeed Aizaz Chaudhary who was appointed as the new Ambassador to Washington.

Presently serving as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, she will take over as the country’s 29th Foreign Secretary in the first week of March 2017, a Foreign Office statement said.

A seasoned diplomat with a career spanning over 32 years, Janjua holds a Master’s degrees from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, and Columbia University, New York.

She also served as spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during 2011.

Janjua served as Ambassador of Pakistan to Italy from December 2011 to October 2015.

Her appointment belied media reports that Abdul Basit, envoy to India, was to be the top diplomat.

Had seniority been the only criterion, he would have been a certainty.

Sources said that he was Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s first choice for the job in 2013 when he was asked to return to Islamabad from Berlin. But, Sharif changed his mind and picked Chaudhry instead for the post.

Basit was sent to India as High Commissioner. But, sources said this time Basit was out of favour with Sharif, who is believed to be displeased with his hosting of Kashmiri separatists in New Delhi.

With the change of the Foreign Secretary, major reshuffle would take place in Pakistan’s envoys in important capitals, sources said, adding that changes will also take place within the Foreign Office as well.

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