Hina Rabbani Khar (born 19 January 1977 in Multan) is a Pakistani politician and Minister of Foreign Affairs since 20 July 2011. She is Pakistan's youngest and first female Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Early and personal life
Hina Rabbani Khar was born on 19 January 1977 in Multan, Punjab, Pakistan. She is the daughter of politician Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar and niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar. A businesswoman by profession, Hina's family has roots in Khar Gharbi village located in Kot Addu, a tehsil in Muzaffargarh District in Punjab. The Khar family has many land holdings: an estate that includes fisheries, mango orchards and sugarcane fields. She graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) from Lahore University of Management Sciences in 1999 and received her M.Sc in Foreign Affairs from the University of Massachusetts in 2001.
She is married to Feroz Gulzar, a businessman and they have two sons and one daughter. She is the co-owner of the Polo Lounge, a popular upscale restaurant located on the Lahore Polo Grounds in Lahore.
She was elected to the National Assembly from the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q) in 2002 from NA-177 Muzaffargarh-II constituency, Punjab. PML-Q denied her a ticket for re-election in 2008, consequently she ran on the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ticket and won with more than 84,000 votes.
She served as the State Minister for Economic Affairs and Statistics in the cabinet of Yousaf Raza Gillani. On 13 June, 2009 she became the first woman to present a budget speech in the National Assembly.
Hina Rabbani, signing the Afghan-Pak Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) with Afghan Foreign Minister, June 2011
She was appointed Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on 11 February, 2011, as part of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani cabinet reshuffle. After Shah Mehmood Qureshi's resignation as foreign minister, she became Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs on 13 February. She was officially appointed foreign minister on 19 July by President Asif Ali Zardari and was sworn in 20 July. Zardari described Khar’s appointment as a demonstration of the PPP government’s "commitment to bring women into the mainstream of national life."
After becoming the first women foreign minister of the country she first visited India for peace talks. Her first visit to India brought about much attention among the general public because the national media in the country was much talking about her beauty and her fashion instead of the talks at hand.
Controversy and Criticism
On her first visit to India as foreign minister, Khar created controversy by meeting separatist leaders of Kashmir before meeting Indian government representatives. She faced criticism from Indian media as well as from BJP, the opposition party of India. BJP termed Khar's meet with separatists as a "Breach of Protocol" and also demanded an inquiry into the matter.