Hina Rabbani Khar (Urdu: حناربانی کھر; born 19 November 1977) is a Pakistani stateswoman and economist and was the former 26th Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Hailing from a powerful feudal family, she began her political career in 2002 in the government of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and subsequently served in the Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry as Minister of State. After successfully contesting the 2008 general election, she served again in the Finance Ministry and directed policies concerning the national economy in the absence of the then Finance Minister in 2009.
She was appointed the first female Foreign Minister in July 2011 following the resignation of Mehmood Qureshi. Since 2008, she has been a senior and high-ranking member of the Central Executive Committee, and is widely regarded as one of the highest ranking women in Pakistani politics.
Hina Rabbani Khar came to national prominence in the national political arena through Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in 2004, who appointed her to the Finance Ministry. In the 2002 general elections, she successfully contested and secured the parliamentary constituency of her father, veteran politician Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar, after most members of her family were disqualified. With the financial support of her father, she campaigned on a newly founded PML (Q Group) platform against the Pakistan Muslim League. Khar was elected as a member of the National Assembly, representing the NA-177, Muzaffargarh-II constituency in Punjab, a constituency her father had represented previously. A new law requiring all parliamentary candidates to hold a university degree had meant he could not run that year. The Guardian wrote, "In deference to local sensibilities about the place of women, her landlord father Noor addressed rallies and glad-handed voters; Hina stayed largely at home, with not even her photo appearing on the posters." In 2005, she was elevated to the position of deputy minister of economic affairs under Shaukat Aziz. 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 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 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. They nominated and elected Yousaf Raza Gillani as Prime Minister.
Minister of State for Economic Affairs
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 2008, after successfully defending her constituency, 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.
Background and Family
Khar is the daughter of powerful oligarch and retired politician Nur Rabbani Khar. Her father was a prominent national politician and formerly served as a member of the National Assembly. She is also niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, former Governor and Chief Minister of Punjab, and cousin of model and actress Aaminah Haq. She is mother to two daughters, Annaya and Dina. Khar is co-owner of a restaurant chain 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.
Academia and Education
Khar is a graduate of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) where she holds a BSc (with honors) in Economics conferred in 1999. She subsequently attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the United States where she earned a MSc in Business Management, attained in 2002.
Khar has retained ties with her alumnus institution, LUMS, long after her graduation. In 2012, she delivered a lecture at LUMS on "Foreign policy and Young Democracy". In 2012, she helped secure funding for the Abdus Salam Institute of Physics and spoke highly of notable theorist Dr. Abdus Salam at LUMS.