Pak’s ambassador-designate Rehman arrives in US

Sherry Rehman replaces Husain Haqqani, who had to resign following the revelation of the Memogate scandal.

Washington: Sherry Rehman, Pakistan`s ambassador-designate to the US, has arrived here with a tough task of restoring normalcy in bilateral relationship which is now said to be at the lowest ebb following a deadly NATO raid.

Rehman is expected to present her credential to President Barack Obama on January 18, said a spokesman of the Pakistani embassy in Washington.

She was received at the airport by embassy officials and those from the State Department.

A confidante of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, 51-year-old Rehman replaces Husain Haqqani, who had to resign following the revelation of the Memogate scandal.

With Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao being a woman, this would be for the first time that the two top diplomats from these two South Asian countries are women.

Rehman, who has served as Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pakistan and ranking member of the National Security Committee in the Parliament, will be going to embassy tomorrow and would pay courtesy call to the State Department officials during the week.

On the eve of her arrival, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland had said that the US is looking forward to working with her.

The ties between Pakistan and the US suffered a series of blows last year with the latest being a deadly cross border NATO raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. "She (Rehman) does indeed come at an important time. We`re look forwarding to having her here in the United States," she said.

"We will obviously make clear to her that we consider this relationship extremely important."

Born in Karachi to a prominent Sindhi family, Rehman is the founding Chair of the Jinnah Institute, a non-partisan public policy think tank.

She co-chairs several track-two strategic dialogues with India and is convener of a similar institutionalised dialogue process between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Also an award-winning journalist from Pakistan with 20 years of experience in both the broadcast and the print media, Rehman is former editor of the `Herald` newsmagazine based in Pakistan.

Rehman resigned her post as information minister in 2009 due to differences of opinion with the President Zardari on imposing restrictions on the media.

In late 2010, Rehman faced threats to her life after she submitted a private member bill suggesting amendments to the controversial blasphemy law. She went underground for months following the threats.