History has been made as Tehmina Janjua, currently serving as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, has been appointed the new foreign secretary by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, becoming the first woman ever to hold the Foreign Office’s top post. Ms Janjua has long been considered a favourite for the position, as she has decades of experience in foreign service, having joined in 1984. She has extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy, making her a well-suited candidate for the job.

In December 2016, she helped Pakistan make history when she became the first woman, and the first developing country representative, to preside over the Conference of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Fifth Review Conference. She was elected unanimously as the President of the CCW, indicating recognition of her and the country’s strong credentials in multilateral diplomacy as well as in international arms control related issues. Her successful stewardship of the conference towards a practical outcome was widely appreciated, both by the international community as well as amongst her colleagues at home.

She has served as ambassador to Rome from December 2011 to October 2015, earning her high praise for her capabilities. Among her other overseas postings are stints at the UN in New York and Geneva. She has also been posted for a year at the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe desk at the start of her foreign service career. She most certainly is the right person for the top job and the Prime Minister must also be appreciated for making a good choice for the future of Pakistan’s diplomatic relationship with the rest of world. The posting is especially welcome at a time when the country needs to present a strong foreign policy and objectives in the face of hostility from neighbouring countries and to ensure the future of CPEC in an environment of multilateral cooperation.