Ms Tehmina Janjua has been assigned the role of Pakistan’s new foreign secretary as Pakistan adds to its list of women in government and leadership roles. A congratulatory note must be made in that Ms Janjua, who attaches two master’s degrees to her name, is the country’s first female foreign secretary — a top post with the Foreign Office and thus quite the achievement. This is a person who seems fitting for the role with over three decades of experience in diplomacy and foreign relations as well as her involvement with the United Nations as Pakistan’s representative. The changes she might bring to the table given her history will be positive for the country.
Ms Janjua’s exposure to different peoples and cultures should be a prerequisite for any post with the Foreign Office. Pakistan holds an important geopolitical position with interest shown from various parts of the world. Being in the public eye, albeit perhaps not as much as our pride encourages us to believe, it is important to have officials that can acknowledge where the other side is coming from with keen acumen for understanding how to move things forward. Although she has faced some criticism for not being more proactive during her UN appointment, she should be afforded a chance in her new role, which will require her to work with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and engage in policymaking at an exciting time when Pakistan is enhancing relations with major world players, including China and the United States — although we sit on the edge of our seats with erratic President Donald Trump now in power. This is an early part of a new chapter Pakistan is opening and it must meticulously formulate policies that will be in its best interest and not for the benefit of only those in power or for the foreign nations it is involved with. We welcome Ms Janjua in her new role but hold her to the same pedestal as a male counterpart and challenge her to perform at her level best.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2017.
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