Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Pakistan appoints new envoy to US

Pakistan's former information minister Sherry Rehman has been appointed new ambassador to the United States (AP)

Pakistan has appointed a new ambassador to the United States, moving quickly to replace the old one who resigned after upsetting the country's powerful military.

Sherry Rehman, a former magazine editor and information minister, is an important player in the country's ruling party and considered something of a liberal.

She was close to former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed by militants in 2007 and has spoken up against the country's blasphemy law.

Earlier this year, militants reportedly put her on a hit-list.

Husain Haqqani resigned from the post on Tuesday amid allegations he wrote a memo to Washington asking for its help in reining in the military.

He denies having anything to do with the memo.

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

Relations between the two countries have soured badly over the last year, especially over the Osama bin Laden raid, which the US carried out without informing Pakistan in advance.

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

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