‘Sherry Reham’ strikes the right balance

Published: December 4, 2011

Sherry Rehman has finally been given the most important diplomatic post in the country. PHOTO: ONLINE / FILE

Perhaps it was an indication of how hurried her appointment was, but when the Prime Minister’s House sent out a press release announcing the new ambassador to the US, they called the person “Ms Sherry Reham”.

However her name was spelled, the redemption of Sherry Rehman is now complete and, appropriately, she has been given the country’s most important diplomatic post thanks to a two-year charm offensive to win back her doubters in the party.

Sources within the party say that Sherry’s appointment was proposed and championed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani but to paint this as a victory for the prime minister over President Asif Ali Zardari would be incorrect. According to them, her appointment would never have gone through had it not had the acquiescence of the president.

Relations between Rehman and Zardari had been gradually improving over the last year, primarily, said many in the PPP, because the former information minister won over party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. Her liberal stance on social issues, in particular, appealed to the younger Zardari. This translated into renewed invitations to attend Central Executive Committee meetings of the party, a privilege that had been rescinded when Rehman resigned from her post and was critical of the party.

Sources in the party say that Zardari also began to grudgingly accept Rehman’s presence in the party when, unlike other dissidents such as Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Safdar Abbasi, she didn’t make her grievances with the party leadership public.

The party also insists that the military had nothing to do with Rehman’s appointment although many quietly admit that she has become closer to the security establishment thanks to the work she’s done for her think tank, the Jinnah Institute.

There are also worries, both within and outside the party, that Rehman may not have the intellect and negotiation skills required for this crucial position, and that she is certainly not up to the level of predecessors like Hussain Haqqani and Maleeha Lodhi.

Military sources, meanwhile, were not interested in commenting on Rehman’s appointment, a sign that they approve it since any opposition would be made clear in a series of targeted leaks. For now, it seems, the military is still intent on focusing its ire on Haqqani.

Just a day after the former ambassador resigned, the usual suspects began trying to feed information to journalists that Haqqani had been placed on the Exit Control List. That no such thing had been done was besides the point, since the military’s modus operandi is to present their desires as reality and hope that through the force of repetition in the media, they get their way.

Given Rehman’s establishment ties and the lack of condemnation, from the usual anonymous sources, of her appointment, it would be a stretch to say that her appointment is a poke in the eye to the military. But given that the military was eagerly promoting Salman Bashir and Ehsanul Haq for the post, it would be fair to say that they did not get things entirely their way.


Nadir Hassan

An Islamabad based journalist who tweets at @Nadir_Hassan.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://djdurrani.blogspot.com Saad Durrani

    ‘Reham’? How about reading the title before publishing?Recommend

  • Shazeb Kamal

    @Saad Durrani:
    How about reading the article before commenting?Recommend

  • AZ

    @Saad Durrani:
    How about reading the first paragraph before commenting?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @Saad Durrani:
    You obviously didn’t bother reading the article.Recommend

  • Parvez

    It’s less about Sherry Rehman and more about our inept leaders who, at least this once have got it right.Recommend

  • http://www.hafsahmad.wordpress.com Hafsa A. Sial

    @Saad Durrani: How about reading the article before commenting on it?Recommend

  • gp65

    Sherry is no doubt a highly achievement oriented woman who has introduced many socially progressive bills. No doubt she is an effective and successful parliamentarian..

    It is possible that she MAY become a successful diplomat also. However, her complete silence on the NTO bombings is surprising since this is an issue that deeply impacts US Pakistan relationship which is the specific realm entrusted to her. Hussain Haqqani was actively propragating Pak forces perspective after the OBL raid.Recommend

  • Samir

    The entire Haqqani saga shows the Armed Forces/Deep State still control Pakistan and refuse to do anything to benefit the average Paksitani. When every Pakistani both in Pakistan and abroad (due to intimidation/violence/retaliation against relatives back in Pakistan) lives in daily fear of the ISI, how can Pakistan be expected to advance?

    Sherry Rehman has promoted some socially progressive items but her recent turn rightwards to getting in bed with the military is very, very troubling.Recommend

  • http://djdurrani.blogspot.com Saad Durrani

    Okay. I missed an entire line. xDRecommend

  • Ali Hasan

    I read the article. Still didn’t get how “Reham” was not a problem. Recommend

  • Ali Hasan

    Ohh…right. Recommend

  • http://Islamabad Syed Hussein El-Edroos

    The best man, sorry woman, won.Recommend

  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,Karachi

    After her daliances with the PM at the Benazir Rally I am surprised she was not made the Vice Prime Minister? Anyways an Amb is still better than nothing though. Sherry you have a great Cherry!Recommend

  • Acorn Guts

    @Saad Durrani: still .. fail.Recommend