Hina Rabbani Khar
|Hina Rabbani Khar
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
11 February 2011 – 16 March 2013
Acting: 11 February 2011 – 19 July 2011
|Prime Minister||Yousaf Raza Gillani
Raja Pervez Ashraf
|Preceded by||Shah Mehmood Qureshi|
|Succeeded by||Mir Hazar Khan Khoso (Acting)|
|Minister of State for Foreign Affairs|
11 February 2011 – 20 July 2011
|Prime Minister||Yousaf Raza Gillani|
|Preceded by||Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan|
|Succeeded by||Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan|
|Minister of State for Finance and Economics Affairs|
24 March 2008 – 11 February 2011
|Prime Minister||Yousaf Raza Gillani|
|Preceded by||Ali Nazary|
|Succeeded by||Dost Muhammad Mazari|
19 November 1977 |
|Political party||Pakistan Peoples Party|
|Relations||Ghulam Noor Rabbani (father)
Ghulam Mustafa Khar (uncle)
Aaminah Haq (cousin)
|Alma mater||Lahore University of Management Sciences 
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Hina Rabbani Khar (Urdu: حناربانی کھر; born 19 November 1977) is a Pakistani stateswoman and economist who was the 26th Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Hailing from a powerful feudal family, she began her political career in 2002 in the government of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and subsequently served in the Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry as Minister of State. After successfully contesting the 2008 general election, she served again in the Finance Ministry and directed policies concerning the national economy in the absence of the then Finance Minister in 2009.
She was appointed the first female Foreign Minister in July 2011 following the resignation of Mehmood Qureshi. Since 2008, she has been a senior and high-ranking member of the Central Executive Committee, and is widely regarded as one of the highest ranking women in Pakistani politics.
Background and Family
Hina was born into a Muslim family in Multan, Punjab, Pakistan. Khar is the daughter of powerful oligarch and retired politician Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar. Her father was a prominent national politician and formerly served as a member of the National Assembly. She is also niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, former Governor and Chief Minister of Punjab. She is married to Feroze Gulzar and has two daughters, Annaya and Dina. Khar is co-owner of a restaurant chain named the "Polo Lounge". The initial branch opened at the Lahore Polo Ground in 2002. A second Polo Lounge has since opened in Islamabad's Saidpur Village.
Khar is a graduate of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) where she holds a BSc (with honors) in Economics conferred in 1999. She subsequently attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the United States where she earned a MSc in Business Management, attained in 2002.
Khar has retained ties with her alumnus institution, LUMS, long after her graduation. In 2012, she delivered a lecture at LUMS on "Foreign policy and Young Democracy". In 2012, she helped secure funding for the Abdus Salam Institute of Physics and spoke highly of notable theorist Dr. Abdus Salam at LUMS.
Hina Rabbani Khar came to national prominence in the national political arena through Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in 2004, who appointed her to the Finance Ministry. In the 2002 general elections, she successfully contested and secured the parliamentary constituency of her father, veteran politician Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar, after most members of her family were disqualified. With the financial support of her father, she campaigned on a newly founded PML (Q Group) platform against the Pakistan Muslim League. Khar was elected as a member of the National Assembly, representing the NA-177 (Muzaffargarh-II) constituency in Punjab, a constituency her father had represented previously. A new law requiring all parliamentary candidates to hold a university degree had meant he could not run that year. The Guardian wrote, "In deference to local sensibilities about the place of women, her landlord father Noor addressed rallies and glad-handed voters; Hina stayed largely at home, with not even her photo appearing on the posters." In 2005, she was elevated to the position of deputy minister of economic affairs under Shaukat Aziz. As deputy minister, she dealt extensively with the donor community during the 2005 earthquake that hit Northern Pakistan.
In 2007, she made an unsuccessful attempt to renew her alliance with PML-Q, but the party denied her a ticket platform to campaign for re-election in 2008. She was later invited by the senior members of the Pakistan Peoples Party and successfully campaigned for her constituency for a second time. The PPP secured a plurality of the votes and formed a left-wing alliance with the Awami National Party, MQM and PML-Q. They nominated and elected Yousaf Raza Gillani as Prime Minister.
Minister of State for Economic Affairs
Khar came to prominence during the Shaukat Aziz government and was appointed Minister of State for Economic Affairs in 2004, a post she retained until 2007. In 2008, after successfully defending her constituency, she was appointed Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs in the cabinet of Yousaf Raza Gillani. She worked on the financial budget and economic policies in the absence of the then Finance Minister and on 13 June 2009 she successfully presented the 2010 federal budget in the Parliament and has the distinction of being the first woman politician to present the Pakistani budget in the National Assembly.
Khar was appointed as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs—the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs—on 11 February 2011, as part of Gillani's cabinet reshuffle. After Shah Mehmood Qureshi's resignation as Foreign Minister, she became acting Minister of Foreign Affairs on 13 February 2011. She was formally appointed as Foreign Minister on 18 July and was sworn in on 19 July, becoming the youngest and first female Minister of Foreign Affairs. President Asif Ali Zardari, who succeeded Pervez Musharraf in 2008, said the appointment was "a demonstration of the government's commitment to bring women into the mainstream of national life". She was appointed foreign minister during a difficult time in Pakistan: when the country's armed forces were confronting extreme elements in Western Pakistan and anti-American emotions ran high over the Raymond Davis incident.
Shortly after her appointment, she visited India and held peace talks with her Indian counterpart, S. M. Krishna. Relations between the two countries had been suspended following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, resuming in February 2011. The Indian media reported extensively on her fashion and appearance—the Birkin bag, the sunglasses, the Jimmy Choo stilettos and the pearl necklaces, for example. She held talks with leaders of the Kashmir independence movement before meeting Indian government representatives, a decision which was criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India's main opposition party, which said it was a breach of protocol and demanded an inquiry into the matter. In August 2011 she visited China and held talks with Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Foreign Minister. Hindustan Times reported that, in contrast to her reception in India, she was largely ignored by Chinese media.
The NATO strike which killed 24 Pakistani troops was one of most notable incidents during her tenure and Foreign Minister Khar vigorously stated that the government of Pakistan and defense committees had approved a measure—similar to a parliamentary resolution put forward after bin Laden's May 2011 death—that formally bars NATO and ISAF forces from using Pakistan's supply routes. On 6 June 2012, Pakistan renewed its call for a U.S. apology over the killing of 24 soldiers in U.S. warplane attacks at the Salala checkpost, as Khar argued that "higher principles should take precedence over politically popular considerations". Khar challenged the U.S. to "live up to its democratic ideals by respecting the will of Pakistan’s elected legislature", Foreign Policy magazine said in a Doha-datelined report on its interview with the top Pakistani diplomat. On 15 December 2011, when the United States suspended financial aid to Pakistan, Khar warned her counterpart Hillary Clinton that the United States will be responsible for defeat in the war on terror as Pakistan could not fight the war alone.
On 21 January 2012, Khar secretly left for Moscow with an agenda of strengthening bilateral relations. Khar and her foreign service officers made tremendous efforts to reach out to countries such as Russia in the wake of strained ties with the United States. On this trip she extended an invitation to the Russian leadership to visit Pakistan and to reaffirm cooperation and bilateral commitment and support to promote stability and peace in Afghanistan for "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" efforts for national reconciliation in the country. On 12 August 2012, while speaking at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, Khar maintained that "growing confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program was threatening further instability in the broader region, and a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible on the basis of reciprocal confidence-building measures and security assurances against external threat."
During her short visit to Bangladesh on 9 November 2012, Khar was approached by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dipu Moni to settle pending post-independence issues, emphasizing especially an unconditional apology from Pakistan for the genocide it had carried out during the Liberation War of 1971. Khar reiterated that Pakistan had regretted its 1971 actions on different occasions since 1974 and called for the two countries to move ahead together. She urged Moni and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, to bury the past.
Electricity Bill corruption scandal
Hina Rabbani Khar came under severe criticism in Pakistan when several news sources alleged that there were massive irregularities in electricity bill payments by Galaxy Textile Mills, a company owned by Khar's husband Firoze Gulzar and her father-in-law. The allegations suggest that company has an outstanding bill of 70 million rupees (US$750,000 as of June 2012) which they have managed to settle in terms of installments of ₨. 3000 ($30) per month, presumably through political pressure and misuse of authority for personal gains. The media reports also alleged that she and her husband are among many beneficiaries of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)—an ordinance issued by former President Musharraf to provide amnesty to those accused of financial and other crimes. The electricity bill matter is seen as a major political scandal in a country marred by electricity shortages, with citizens having to face daily outages of up to 12 hours in urban areas and 20 hours in rural areas during maximum national shortfall.
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