Hina Rabbani Khar is set to become Pakistan's first woman foreign minister, with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani recommending her elevation as a full-fledged minister, ahead of the Indo-Pak Foreign Minister-level talks in July.
Gilani approved the "summary" or formal proposal for the appointment of Khar as the new foreign minister shortly before he leaves on a five-day private visit to Britain, official sources said. Gilani forwarded the formal proposal to President Asif Ali Zardari for his final approval.
Khar, 34, is expected to take charge as soon as a notification is issued by the presidency, sources said.
The decision to elevate Khar was made in view of her competency and recent interaction at the foreign office, sources at the prime minister's house told Express 24/7 news channel.
Khar had emerged as a front-runner in the race for the slot of foreign minister, which has been vacant since previous incumbent Shah Mahmood Qureshi was removed during a cabinet reshuffle in February.
The absence of a foreign minister was affecting the ministry and foreign policy, government sources were quoted as saying by Dawn news channel.
The July 26-27 meeting of the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan is believed to have influenced the government's decision to go ahead with the elevation of Khar as a cabinet minister.
Khar is the daughter of veteran politician Malik Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar and the niece of former Governor Malik Ghulam Mustafa Khar.
She was a member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q party during former military ruler Pervez Musharraf's regime and joined the ruling Pakistan People's Party ahead of the 2008 general election.
Her elevation as a full-fledged foreign minister would suit the powerful military establishment, which shapes and guides Pakistan's foreign policy, as she is not perceived to be as independent-minded as her predecessor.