ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has appointed Dr.Maleeha Lodhi as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations.

According to the announcement made in this connection on Monday, Maleeha Lodhi was appointed permanent representative of Pakistan to UN as decided by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and she will assume her responsibilities in February 2015.  

Previously, Maleeha Lodhi has twice served as Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States (1993-1996 and 1999-2002) and as Pakistan's High Commissioner to United Kingdom (2003-2008).   She has also served as a member of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs (2001-2005).

She has taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science, been a Fellow at the Institute of Politics, Harvard University, and an international scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC.

She is a member of the National Defence University's Senate and a member of the Advisory Council of the London-based International Institute of Strategic Affairs.

Dr Maleeha Lodhi will be the first woman to represent Pakistan at the United Nations. This will be Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's first senior appointment of a female to his foreign policy team.  He has chosen a person with established diplomatic credentials who is also among the country's leading public intellectuals.

The appointment also showed that the Prime Minister is reaching out to professionals outside party circles and the bureaucracy to draw on expertise and experience.

The appointment also reflected a desire to widen the team at a time when Pakistan faces mounting foreign policy challenges amid which the UN will be an important forum to advance Pakistan's case and project the country. She was first appointed as Ambassador to the US by the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

She dealt with two different administrations in the US, that of President Bill Clinton and President George W Bush. Her second term in the US was especially challenging as it coincided with 9/11. Handling this situation urged Lodhi to take to the airwaves and she defended Pakistan vigorously on television, becoming a prominent face on Western networks. On the 60th anniversary of Pakistan's independence she organized, a big music and cultural event at Trafalgar Square, the first such display of public diplomacy undertaken by any Pakistani envoy.

Dr Lodhi has been among the leading writers and experts on foreign and security policy in the country and a frequent speaker at the National Defence College. She started her career in journalism becoming the first woman in Asia to become the Editor of a national daily.

She is the author of two books and in 2010 edited a popular collection, called `Pakistan: Beyond the crisis state.'  She has received the Hilal e Imtiaz award from the government for public service.