Introduction

Born on November 1977 into Khar clan in Muzaffargarh District, Hina Rabbani Khar studied at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) where she gained a BSc (with honours) in Economics conferred in 1999. She

Hina Rabbani Khar


Professional Achievements


Born on November 1977 into Khar clan in Muzaffargarh District, Hina Rabbani Khar studied at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) where she gained a BSc (with honours) in Economics conferred in 1999. She subsequently attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the United States where she earned an MSc in Business Management in 2002.

Hina Khar is the daughter of powerful oligarch and retired politician Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar. Her father was a prominent national politician and formerly served as a member of the National Assembly. She is also the niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, former Governor and Chief Minister of Punjab.

In the 2002 general elections, Hina Rabbani Khar was elected as a member of the National Assembly, representing the Muzaffargarh-II constituency. Her father, Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar, previously had represented the constituency, but he and most of the members of her family were disqualified due to a new law requiring all parliamentary candidates to hold a university degree. Hina Rabbani with the financial support of her father, campaigned on a newly founded PML-Q platform against the Pakistan Muslim League.

Hina Rabbani Khar came to prominence during the Shaukat Aziz government and was appointed Minister of State for Economic Affairs in 2004, a post she retained until 2007. In 2005, he elevated her to the position of deputy minister of economic affairs. As deputy minister, she dealt extensively with the donor community during the 2005 earthquake that hit Northern Pakistan.

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 later invited by the senior members of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and successfully campaigned for her constituency for a second time. The PPP secured a plurality of the votes and formed a left-wing alliance with the Awami National Party, MQM and PML-Q.

After successfully defending her constituency in 2008 with the PPP, she was appointed Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs in the cabinet of Yousaf Raza Gillani. 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.

Hina Rabbani 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 Yousaf Raza Gillani's cabinet reshuffle. After Shah Mehmood Qureshi's resignation as Foreign Minister, she became acting Minister of Foreign Affairs on 13 February 2011. She was formally appointed as Foreign Minister on 18 July and was sworn in on 19 July, becoming the youngest and first female Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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. She was appointed foreign minister during the difficult times 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.

Shortly after her appointment, she 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, resuming in February 2011. The Indian media reported extensively on her fashion and appearance, the Birkin bag, the sunglasses, the Jimmy Choo stilettos and the pearl necklaces, for example.

Hina Rabbani 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 main opposition party, which said it was a breach of protocol and demanded an inquiry into the matter. She later led an unsuccessful move to grant India most favoured nation status. In August 2011 she visited China and held talks with Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Foreign Minister. Hindustan Times reported that, in contrast to her reception in India, she was largely ignored by Chinese media.

The NATO strike which killed 24 Pakistani troops was one of the most notable incidents during her tenure and Foreign Minister Khar vigorously stated that the government of Pakistan and defence 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. On 6 June 2012, Pakistan renewed its call for a U.S. apology over the killing of 24 soldiers in U.S. warplane attacks at the Salala checkpost, as Hina Khar argued that higher principles should take precedence over politically popular considerations.

Hina Rabbani challenged the U.S. to live up to its democratic ideals by respecting the will of Pakistan’s elected legislature, Foreign Policy magazine said in a Doha-datelined report on its interview with the top Pakistani diplomat. On 15 December 2011, when the United States suspended financial aid to Pakistan, Hina Khar warned her counterpart Hillary Clinton that the United States will be responsible for defeat in the war on terror as Pakistan could not fight the war alone.

On 21 January 2012, Hina Rabbani Khar secretly left for Moscow with an agenda of strengthening bilateral relations. Hina Khar and her foreign office officers made tremendous efforts to reach out to countries such as Russia in the wake of strained ties with the United States. On this trip she extended an invitation to the Russian leadership to visit Pakistan and to reaffirm cooperation and bilateral commitment and support to promote stability and peace in Afghanistan for Afghan-led and Afghan-owned efforts for national reconciliation in the country.

On 12 August 2012, while speaking at the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, Hina Khar maintained that growing confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme was threatening further instability in the broader region, and a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible on the basis of reciprocal confidence-building measures and security assurances against external threat.

During her short visit to Bangladesh on 9 November 2012, Hina Rabbani Khar was approached by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dipu Moni to settle pending post-independence issues. She called for the two countries to move ahead together.

In April 2013, Hina Rabbani 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 as the condition requiring parliamentary candidates to hold a university degree had been lifted. The PPP came second in the election, losing 74 seats.

Rabbani Khar 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.

During her two-year-long appointment as the country's foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar attracted significant global attention on her status as Pakistan's first women foreign minister. She was interviewed by Charlie Rose, CBS News and Washington Post among others. 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.

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. She has written op-ed's for Newsweek Pakistan and was interviewed by Mehdi Hasan at the Oxford Union in December 2015. In June 2016, she appeared on Jirga with Saleem Safi, speaking out against Pakistan's aggressive stance in the Kashmir conflict. In an appearance at the Islamabad Literature Festival, she continued her support of a closer Indian-Pakistan relationship.

Hina Rabbani Khar is married to Feroze Gulzar and has two daughters, Annaya and Dina. She is co-owner of a restaurant called named 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.