Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader and MNA Sherry Rehman has been appointed Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Express 24/7 reported.
The appointment comes after Husain Haqqani was asked to resign by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in the wake of the Memogate scandal. Gilani has approved the appointment.
“The prime minister is pleased to appoint Sherry Rehman as the new ambassador to the United States,” said spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office, Akram Shaheedi, Reuters reported.
Media reports circulating late Tuesday night had suggested that Iffat Imran Gardezi would be the temporary replacement for Haqqani. Gardezi is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington and assists the ambassador in the overall functioning of the Embassy.
Rehman, a former journalist, was information minister for Zardari after the restoration of civilian rule following a 2008 election.
But she resigned in March 2009 over a crisis in which the government was refusing to reinstate judges sacked under the military regime of President Pervez Musharraf.
Her appointment was a surprise, with many analysts and media pundits expecting someone seen as closer to the military.
Rehman has been a strong advocate of women’s and minority rights and faced death threats for her calls to reform the country’s harsh blasphemy laws.
But she is also the author, through her role as president of the Jinnah Institute, of a report on Pakistan’s foreign policy goals in Afghanistan, staking out views widely seen in Pakistan as dovetailing with those of the powerful military establishment.
Rehman had recently assumed the charge of Chairperson Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS), for a period of three years. She was appointed by Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the society’s president.
PPP woman wing activist Suraya Jatoi will be elected MNA on the reserved seat vacated by Sherry Rehman.
Rehman left her MNA seat when she was appointed as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States following the resignation of Husain Haqqani.
Sources in the provincial election commission said that Suraya Jatoi, who belongs to Sukkur district, is eighth on the candidature list provided by PPP for its women MNAs candidate (reserved seats) during the 2008 election. MNA Mahreen Bhutto was number seven on the same list.
Shazia Marri, minister for power comes after her. Since Marri is a sitting MPA, therefore prefers to retain her present position allowing Suraya Jatoi to take up the MNA seat.
Sources in the election commission said that they have not issued notification as yet, however it is likely to be issued within the next 24 hours.