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Hina Rabbani Khar

Hina Rabbani Khar (Urdu: حنا ربانی کھر; born 19 November 1977)[3] is a Pakistani politician who served as the 21st Foreign Minister of Pakistan from February 2011 until March 2013. Appointed at age 33, she was the youngest person and the first woman to have held the position.[4]

Hina Rabbani Khar
حناربانی کھر
Hina Rabbani Khar - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012.jpg
Hina Rabbani Khar at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, 2012
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
11 February 2011 – 16 March 2013
Acting: 11 February 2011 – 19 July 2011
Prime MinisterYousaf Raza Gillani
Raja Pervez Ashraf
Preceded byShah Mehmood Qureshi
Succeeded byMir Hazar Khan Khoso (Acting)
Sartaj Aziz (de facto)
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
11 February 2011 – 20 July 2011
Prime MinisterYousaf Raza Gillani
Preceded byNawabzada Malik Amad Khan
Succeeded byNawabzada Malik Amad Khan
Minister of State for Finance and Economics Affairs
In office
24 March 2008 – 11 February 2011
Prime MinisterYousaf Raza Gillani
Preceded byAli Nazary
Succeeded byDost Muhammad Mazari
Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan
Assumed office
13 August 2018
ConstituencyReserved seat for women
In office
17 March 2008 – 16 March 2013
ConstituencyNA-177 (Muzaffargarh-II)
In office
16 November 2002 – 15 November 2007
ConstituencyNA-177 (Muzaffargarh-II)
Personal details
Born (1977-11-19) 19 November 1977 (age 42)
Multan, Punjab, Pakistan
Political partyPakistan Peoples Party
Height1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Feroze Gulzar (m. 1999)
RelationsGhulam Noor Rabbani (father)
Ghulam Mustafa Khar (uncle)
Aaminah Haq (cousin)
Alma materLahore University of Management Sciences [1]
University of Massachusetts, Amherst[2]

Khar is a member of an influential feudal family in Muzaffargarh. She studied business at LUMS and U Mass - Amherst before entering politics as a member of the national assembly in 2002, representing the PML-Q and becoming a junior minister responsible for economic policy under the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. In 2009, after switching parties and winning re-election with the Pakistan Peoples Party, she became the Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs and the same year became the first woman to present the national budget.[5] She was appointed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani as the Foreign Minister of Pakistan in July 2011, and served until shortly before the 2013 election, when she retired from active politics.[5] She has continued to push for stronger ties with India.[6]

She remains a member of the Pakistan People's Party, and is a public speaker on foreign policy.[7] As of 2019, she is a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan on a reserved seat for women.

Early life and familyEdit

Hina Rabbani Khar was born in Multan, Punjab, Pakistan.[8][9] Khar is the daughter of the powerful oligarch and politician Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar.[10] Her father is a prominent national politician and serves as a member of the National Assembly.[10] She is a niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, the former Governor and Chief Minister of Punjab.[11]


Khar is a graduate of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) where she holds a BSc (with honors) in Economics conferred in 1999.[3] She subsequently attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the United States where she earned an MSc in Business Management in 2002.[3]

Khar has retained ties with LUMS since her graduation. In 2012, she delivered a lecture there on "Foreign Policy and Young Democracy", and secured funding for the Abdus Salam Institute of Physics.[12][13]

Political careerEdit

In the 2002 general elections, Khar was elected as a member of the National Assembly, representing the NA-177 (Muzaffargarh-II) constituency in Punjab. Her father, veteran politician Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar, had represented the constituency previously, but he and most of the members of her family had been disqualified.[14] A new law requiring all parliamentary candidates to hold a university degree meant that he and they could not run that year.[15][16][17] With the financial support of her father who addressed rallies on her behalf, she campaigned on a newly founded PML-Q platform against the Pakistan Muslim League,[14] with her face not appearing on her own election posters.[18]

Economic and Finance positionsEdit

Khar came to prominence during the Shaukat Aziz government and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Economic Affairs and Statistics in 2003, and being named Minister of State for Economic Affairs the following year, a post she retained until 2007.[19][20] As minister of state, she worked with international relief funds and charities after the deadly 2005 earthquake in Northern Pakistan, and also worked on proposals for the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India pipeline.[14][21]

In 2007, she made an unsuccessful attempt to renew her alliance with the PML-Q, but the party denied her a ticket platform to campaign for re-election in 2008. She was subsequently invited to join the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and successfully campaigned for her constituency for a second time.[15] The PPP secured a plurality of the votes and formed a left-wing alliance with the Awami National Party, MQM and PML-Q.[22]

Minister of State for Finance and Economic AffairsEdit

After her 2008 re-election, she was appointed Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs in the cabinet of Yousaf Raza Gillani.[3] 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.[14] She also worked on reducing Pakistan's circular debt within the energy sector.[23]

Foreign ministerEdit

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. Gillani did not reappoint Shah Mehmood Qureshi as Foreign Minister, and that position was left empty.[24] In the absence of any Foreign Minister, she was the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs for five months until her formal appointment as Foreign Minister on 18 July; she was sworn in on 19 July, becoming the youngest and first female Minister of Foreign Affairs.[25][26] 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".[27] 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.[28][29]

Shortly after her appointment, Khar 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, and did not resume until February 2011, five months before her visit.[30] The Indian media reported extensively on her fashion and appearance, including her Birkin bag, sunglasses, Jimmy Choo stilettos and pearl necklaces.[31][32][33] She held talks with leaders of the Hurriyat Conference before meeting Indian government representatives, a decision which was criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India's biggest political party,[34][35] which said it was a breach of protocol and demanded an inquiry into the matter.[36] She later led an unsuccessful move to grant India most favoured nation status.[37] In August 2011 she visited China and held talks with Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Foreign Minister.[38] Hindustan Times reported that, in contrast to her reception in India, she was largely ignored by the Chinese media.[39]

The NATO strike which killed 24 Pakistani troops was one of the most notable incidents during her tenure and Foreign Minister Khar 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.[40] Pakistan continued to demand a U.S. apology, and on 6 June 2012, Khar argued that "higher principles should take precedence over politically popular considerations", and challenged the U.S. to "live up to its democratic ideals by respecting the will of Pakistan’s elected legislature".[41] On 15 December 2011, when the United States suspended financial aid to Pakistan, Khar warned that their actions would be responsible for losing the war on terror, since Pakistan could not win without U.S. assistance.[42]

Hina Rabbani Khar – Supreme Court of Pakistan Conference in 2013.

On 21 January 2012, Khar secretly left for Moscow with an agenda of strengthening bilateral relations, with Pakistan's relationship with the United States strained.[43] On this trip invited the Russian leadership to visit Pakistan and to maintain bilateral cooperation and commitment and support for "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" efforts for peace in the country.[44] On 12 August 2012, while speaking at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, Khar maintained that regional stability was imperiled due to the increasing tensions relating to Iran's nuclear program, and a "peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible on the basis of reciprocal confidence-building measures and security assurances against external threats".[45]

During her short visit to Bangladesh on 9 November 2012, Khar was approached by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dipu Moni to sort out post-independence issues between the countries.[46] Khar called for the two countries to move ahead together.[46]

While the election was being scheduled, the PPP completed five-year election term in March 2013, so the government was replaced by a caretaker prime minister and cabinet, in which Khar was not a member, until the election took place.[47][48] This ended Khar's two year role as Foreign Minister.[49] In April 2013, Khar announced that she was standing down at the next general election, so that her father, who had previously been ineligible to stand as a candidate, could succeed her. The condition requiring parliamentary candidates to hold a university degree, which had led to Khar replacing her father in 2002, had been lifted since the most recent general election.[50][51] The PPP came second in the election, losing 74 seats;[52] Khar's father was defeated in his bid to regain his former seat.[53]


Khar at the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue Review in London.

During her two-year-long appointment as the country's foreign minister she attracted significant global attention on her status as Pakistan's first woman foreign minister.[11][54] She was interviewed by Charlie Rose,[55] CBS News[56] and Washington Post[57] among others.[58] She served as a high-ranking member of the Central Executive Committee of the Pakistan Peoples Party from 2008 until 2013, when she retired from politics.[5]

Post-ministerial careerEdit

Since standing down, Khar has been an active public speaker. In an interview with Al Jazeera in December 2015, she accused the US government supporting military regimes in Pakistan.[59] She has written op-ed's for Newsweek Pakistan[60] and was interviewed by Mehdi Hasan at the Oxford Union in December 2015.[61] In June 2016, she appeared on Jirga with Saleem Safi, speaking out against Pakistan's aggressive stance in the Kashmir conflict.[6] In an appearance at the Islamabad Literature Festival, she continued her support of a closer Indian-Pakistan relationship.[62]

Return to politics in 2018Edit

She was nominated on a reserved seat for women in the National Assembly by the Pakistan People's Party.[63]

Personal lifeEdit

Khar is married to Feroze Gulzar.[3] She has a son, Ahmed, and two daughters, Annaya and Dina.[64]

Khar is co-owner of a restaurant called 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.[11][65]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to Speak at LUMS". LUMS. 30 April 2012. Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Alumna to be Pakistan's new Foreign Minister". University of Massachusetts Amherst. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Hina Rabbari Khar". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  4. ^ (25 June 2012). "Hina Rabbani Khar". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Hina Rabbani Khar not to run for another stint in National Assembly - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b "'Pakistan's national identity is to hate others': Hina Rabbani Khar, please tell us something new - Firstpost". 28 June 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Reaffirming loyalties: Hina Rabbani Khar is not joining PTI, says Ghulam Rabbani - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar". First Post (India). Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013. Hina Rabbani Khar was born on 19 November 1963 in Multan, Punjab
  9. ^ "Electoral results by caste". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Gone with the wind". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Das, Mala (27 September 2012). "Who is Hina Rabbani Khar?". NDV. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  12. ^ LUMS. "Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar Speaks at LUMS". Press Release of LUMS Editorial Newspaper. LUMS Editorial Newspaper. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  13. ^ Khar, Her Excellency, Hina. "Foreign Policy and Young Democracy" (PDF). Hina Rabbani Khar presented her paper at LUMS on 30 April 2012. LUMS, Paper. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 May 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d M Ilyas Khan (21 July 2011). "Will Pakistan's first woman foreign minister make a difference?". BBC News. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  15. ^ a b "District Profile: Southern Punjab- Muzaffargarh". Dawn. Karachi. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Pakistani general election, 2002: constituency-wise detailed results" (PDF). Election Commission of Pakistan. p. 48. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
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  21. ^ "KUNA :: India hosts regional Econ. Coop. Conference on Afghanistan 06/11/2006". Archived from the original on 1 October 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
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  23. ^ Bukhari, Irfan (3 November 2010). "Circular debt issue to be 'signally resolved' in 9 months: Hina". Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  24. ^ Hassan, Ahmad (12 February 2011). "Some heavyweights left out of 22-member new cabinet". Dawn. Karachi. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  25. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (19 July 2011). "Pakistan selects female envoy for India talks". The Independent. London. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
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  35. ^ "BJP protests Khar-Hurriyat meet, slow pace of 26/11 trial". Hindustan Times. New Delhi. 28 July 2011. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
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  39. ^ "Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to visit China". The Express Tribune. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
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  41. ^ "Khar renews call for apology over Salala attack". The News International. Karachi. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  42. ^ Staff Reporter (15 December 2011). "US will be responsible for defeat in war on terror: Hina Khar". The Nation. Lahore. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  43. ^ Kamran, Yousaf (21 January 2012). "Khar off to Russia with love". The Express Tribune. Karachi. p. 1. Retrieved 9 September 2012. In a development that signifies a paradigm shift in the country’s decades-old foreign policy, Pakistan is set to formally invite the Russian president to undertake a visit at a time when its relationship with the United States is faltering
  44. ^ APP (9 February 2012). "Working together: Pakistan, Russia vow to support Afghan peace initiative". The Express Tribune. Karachi. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  45. ^ APP (29 August 2012). "NAM summit: Khar fears Iran conflict may fuel instability". The Express Tribune. Karachi. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  46. ^ a b Karim, Rezaul (10 November 2012). "PM to visit Pakistan to attend D-8 summit". The Daily Star. Dhaka. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  47. ^ Article 224 (Clause 1A–1B) in Chapter 2, Part VIII of the Constitution
  48. ^ "Pakistan government completes full term". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  49. ^ Malik, Maqbool (3 April 2013). "Caretaker Khoso's cabinet sworn in". The Nation.
  50. ^ Iqbal, Nasir (22 April 2008). "Supreme Court scraps graduation condition". Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  51. ^ "Nomination withdrawn: Hina Rabbani Khar steps down in favour of her father - The Express Tribune". 19 April 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  52. ^ "National Assembly of Pakistan". Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  53. ^ "Pakistan's waning feudalism: Gone with the wind". 18 May 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  54. ^ "Indo-Pak talks: Hina Rabbani to lead delegation to India - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  55. ^ Charlie Rose (14 January 2013), Hina Rabbani Khar (01/14/13) | Charlie Rose, retrieved 22 February 2016
  56. ^ CBS News (23 September 2011), The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley - Is Pakistan aiding terror attacks on the U.S.?, retrieved 22 February 2016
  57. ^ "Pakistan foreign minister on U.S. relations". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  58. ^ NDTV (8 September 2012), No love lost for Hafiz Saeed: Hina Rabbani Khar to NDTV, retrieved 22 February 2016
  59. ^ "US has immense fascination for military regimes in Pakistan: Hina Rabbani Khar - The Economic Times". Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  60. ^ "If Not Now". Newsweek Pakistan. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  61. ^ "Who rules Pakistan?". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  62. ^ "Bhangra, books and bonhomie". 20 April 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  63. ^ Reporter, The Newspaper's Staff (12 August 2018). "List of MNAs elected on reserved seats for women, minorities". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  64. ^ "NAB seeks assets detail of Gorchani, family". Dawn. 27 March 2019.
  65. ^ Khan, Omer Farooq (21 February 2013). "Hina Rabbani Khar's 'baby': Tony eatery with an eclectic menu". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 March 2013.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Ali Nazary
Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs
Succeeded by
Dost Muhammad Mazari
Preceded by
Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan
Preceded by
Shah Mehmood Qureshi
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Mir Hazar Khan Khoso