Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pakistan appoints its first female foreign minister ahead of India talks

Pakistan has appointed its first female foreign minister, filling a key Cabinet position days ahead of peace talks with archrival India.

A statement from the Foreign Office says Hina Rabbani Khar is also the youngest foreign minister in Pakistan’s history, but it does not state her age.Khar, who previously served as deputy foreign minister, was sworn in Tuesday. She is expected to meet with her Indian counterpart later this month as part of a peace process that has struggled since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The top post at the ministry had been vacant since February when the previous foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, had a falling out with the ruling party.

President Zardari returns home from Kabul

President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday returned to Karachi after a brief visit to Kabul during which he condoled with President Karzai over the death of his brother.

Later, the two also held talks and covered bilateral relations focusing on transit trade, regional situation and fight against militancy. President Karzai thanked President Zardari for his gesture.

President and his delegation which includes Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Defence Minister Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar and spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar were received by the Afghan President Hamid Karzai and members of his Cabinet at the Presidential Palace.

On the issue of transit trade the Afghan side raised the issue of containers held up in Pakistan the number of which contains food and perishable items.

President Zardari assured Karzai that the government would look into it and transit of perishable items and food would be allowed immediately.

Defence experts term Zardari visit to Kabul as significant

The defence and strategic experts termed President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to Kabul as significant strategically in the perspective of recent emerging scenario of the region, especially Afghanistan.

Talking to a private news channel on Wednesday, Gen (R) Jamshed Ayaz Khan has appreciated the visits of President Asif Ali Zardari to Iran and Afghanistan.

He asked the US not to play great game in Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan's stability and peace is linked with peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Islamabad should help Kabul bring peace in that country to prove that we are the best friend of Afghans, he added.

He suggested that Turkish peace keeping troops should replace American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, otherwise, there might be new civil war.

Sumbol Khan, Senior Research Fellow Pakistan Strategic Institute Islamabad has said that President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to Kabul has great importance in the perspective of President's recent visit to Iran and US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

She said that President Asif Ali Zardari will proceed to Saudi Arabia after Afghanistan, which is also very important.

Dr. Zahid Anwar Khan, professor of PeshawarUniversity, said bilateral visits of Pak-Afghan leadership in recent months will prove fruitful for both nations and countries, besides bring peace and stability in both sides of Durand Line.