New foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who was sworn in earlier this week, takes charge at a time when apparent contradictions in the countrys foreign policy are coming to a head, opined BBC on Thursday. Being the first woman in the post she may be able to project a softer image of Pakistan abroad, some say. But many doubters point to her young age - 34 - and the fact that she has a degree in hotel management. They suggest she may lack the stature and experience necessary for her new post, given the powerful militarys long history of involvement in foreign policy. To be fair to her, countless men in this role have in the past failed to challenge the militarys perception of how to run the countrys foreign affairs. Will she fare any better? Ms Khar belongs to a generation of parliamentarians who entered politics by default - they happened to be sons, daughters or wives of politicians who were disqualified under a 2002 law that required election candidates to hold a college degree. A post-graduate in hotel management from the University of Massachusetts in the US, she was the obvious choice to replace her father, Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar, a big landowner in Muzaffargarh district. She has won two consecutive elections from his old seat, not because of her own charisma or political weight, say analysts, but due to her familys political influence in the area. This explains why she was able to win despite switching political parties - she triumphed as a candidate for the PML-Q party in 2003 and for the PPP, which won elections in 2008. Despite her age and background, she is not new to high office. During the military regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf, when the PML-Q formed the government, she became the deputy minister of economic affairs and dealt extensively with the donor community during the 2005 earthquake that hit northern Pakistan. When the PPP ousted the PML-Q in the 2008 elections, she again held the same portfolio and was the first woman minister to present the national budget in parliament in 2009. Ms Khar is relatively new to her brief, having spent only five months as deputy foreign minister. But since her predecessor, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, lost his job in a reshuffle in February, she has been in charge of the ministry. Her appointment as Mr Qureshis replacement comes just a week before two major foreign affairs events, where her mettle will be tested. First is the meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations in Indonesia, where she is likely to meet the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, on the sidelines. The second, and more important in a regional context, is the ministerial-level meeting with nuclear-armed arch-rival India, which is aimed at restarting a composite dialogue that was derailed by the 2008 Mumbai attacks. She is educated and articulate. She is also a young and photogenic woman. International interlocutors and the global television audience may find her a welcome change from Pakistans male old guard. But there are few in Pakistan who expect her to show the kind of resolve and charisma it would take to straighten out the folds and crumples of Pakistani foreign policy. For decades, this policy has been controlled by the powerful security establishment, and reflects the disconnect between its national security priorities and diplomatic compulsions.