ISLAMABAD -  Tehmina Janjua Monday took charge as the first woman Foreign Secretary of Pakistan.

Officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Janjua spent a busy first day in the office amid diplomatic activities.

The new Foreign Secretary’s predecessor Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry left for Washington this month to assume his new responsibility as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States.

Since October 6, 2015, Janjua was posted as Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva.

Janjua’s appointment by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to replace Chaudhry had left many aspirants stunned. Fresh appointments to fill the vacant and soon-to-be vacant posts could be tricky as some seniors were expecting compensation for being overlooked for the secretary’s slot.

There were rumours that High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit had resigned on being ignored for the Foreign Secretary’s slot but, sources said, he was likely to get a senior post in the foreign ministry when he returns from New Delhi.

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Syed Ibne Abbas, Pakistan’s ambassador to China Masood Khalid and former ambassador to France Ghalib Iqbal are also candidates for prized positions.

Janjua is known as a qualified diplomat – with a career spanning 32 years - and has held several important positions in the past. She holds Masters degrees from Quaid-e-Azam University and Columbia University.

She has rich experience of working in bilateral and multilateral domains both at Headquarters and Missions abroad. She also served as spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Janjua joined Foreign Service in 1984. From 1986-1987, she was the desk officer, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Foreign Office. In 1989, she was appointed acting director of the Office of the National Security Adviser. From 1990-1995, she remained second secretary and later first secretary, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations.

Janjua remained director Foreign Secretary 's Office from 1995-1996. From 1996-2000, she was the counsellor Pakistan Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organisations in Geneva.

In 2000, she became director Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Office. From 2004-2005, she was appointed director Foreign Secretary 's Office. Afterwards, from 2005-2009, she became the deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva.

From 2009-2011, she served as director-general (Strategic Planning) in the Foreign Secretary 's office. In 2011, she was appointed a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and director-general (Strategic Planning) Foreign Secretary 's office. From December 2011 to October 2015, she remained Pakistan’s ambassador to Italy and was then transferred to Geneva.

A senior official at the foreign ministry said Afghanistan and India were the two most important topics for Janjua to work on in the coming weeks as she consolidates her hold as the secretary.

Meanwhile, Director General South Asia and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh and condemned the “ceasefire violation by the Indian forces” on March 17 on the line of control (LoC) in Kotli, resulting in the death of a 60-year-old woman .

An official statement said: “The deliberate targeting of civilians is indeed condemnable and contrary to human dignity and international human rights and humanitarian laws.”