Ms Hina Rabbani Khar has been made Foreign Minister at a time of great challenges. She would, of course, be aware of them having been dealing with the portfolio for quite some time. At the moment, the countrys foreign relations are in turmoil, with the relationship with the USA under strain from a number of events, the main ones being the Raymond Davis affair and then the killing of Osama bin Laden. In the background is the regional situation, with the USA contemplating a withdrawal from Afghanistan, with both its presence and its departure representing separate challenges to Pakistani diplomacy. It is, therefore, perhaps appropriate that Ms Khars first duty after taking over will be to lead the Pakistani delegation to the ASEAN Regional Forum, where she will also meet her Chinese, American and Indian counterparts. The Chinese Foreign Minister has always been an important personage for Pakistan, considering the strength and depth of the relationship, as has been the US Secretary of State, but since China has offered to make up the shortages created by the USAs suspension of military aid, there will be further wheels within wheels. However, it is the visit at the end of the month in which Ms Khar will be carrying the bulk of the aspirations of the Pakistani people, and that is the visit to India, where she will hold discussions with her Indian counterpart, L. Krishna, at the ministerial level of the composite dialogue, which is taking place despite Indian refusal to face the facts, and because the USA insists on a dialogue that one side i.e. India has rendered meaningless because it is not result-oriented. Ms Khar may well have assumed the portfolio as the youngest Foreign Minister of Pakistan ever, and may well be the first woman to have assumed the charge, and she may well face unprecedented challenges, but she also has unprecedented opportunities. These are not just uncertain times for Pakistan, but the world as a whole, where it appears that the USAs imperium is collapsing of its own weight, not because some other power has mounted a challenge. Under the circumstances, it will be an act of consummate skill on the part of not just Ms Khar but her successors in the job to identify for Pakistan realistic options in keeping it in a respected place in the comity of nations. While Ms Khar is not destined to accomplish the task, it must start with her, and how she performs it will be how history will ultimately judge her.