Pakistan Appoints New Ambassador to the US

November 23, 2011  

Pakistan appointed a new ambassador to the United States on Wednesday after the previous one resigned amid tensions with the country’s powerful military.

Sherry Rehman, a former magazine editor and information minister, is an important player in the country’s ruling party.

Considered something of a liberal, Rehman was close to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed by terrorists in 2007.

Rehman has spoken out against Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which critics say is used to persecute Christians. Her appointment comes despite her having resigned her post as information minister in 2009 saying the cabinet and military were “fighting democracy.”

Earlier this year, terrorists reportedly put Rehman on a hit list.

Hussein Haqqani resigned from the post late Tuesday amid allegations he wrote a memo to Washington asking for its help in reining in Pakistan’s influential military, which ruled the country as a junta from 1977 until 2002. Haqqani denies having anything to do with memo.

The diplomatic post is a crucial one for both nations. Washington wants to work with Pakistan to defeat Al Qaida and negotiate a way out of the Afghan war. Islamabad relies heavily on US aid and diplomatic support.

Relations between the two countries have soured badly in the aftermath of the US targeted killing of late Al Qaida arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, which the US carried out without informing Pakistan in advance.

Many American lawmakers are calling for an end to US engagement with the nuclear-armed country.

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