Former information minister Sherry Rehman was named as Pakistan's new envoy to the US after the current envoy, Husain Haqqani, gave in his resignation to the prime minister on Tuesday. Haqqani resignation came in the wake of the "memogate" scandal.
Analysts say that Rehman's appointment is seen as a victory for the establishment given that she had been toeing a pro-military line over the past couple of years. Insiders say that the names proposed by the military high command included General Ehsan, a former ISI chief, and General Jahangir Karamat, a former army chief and ambassador to the US. Another name under consideration was Dr Maleeha Lodhi, a former newspaper editor and envoy.
The compromise candidate, acceptable to both the military and the politicians was Sherry Rehman, said analyst M Ziauddin.
Rehman, currently an MP from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party on a reserved women seat, is also the director of the Jinnah Institute, an Islamabad based think tank which she helped set up. Talking to the media after her appointment, Rehman said that she would work hard to present Pakistan's case at international forums.
Following news of her nomination, a petition was filed in the Multan bench of the Lahore High Court challenging the decision on the grounds that Ms Rehman would be unable to represent the country owing to her anti-Islamic views. The right-wing Sunni Tehreek party also vowed to hold protests against the appointment.
Rehman had moved a private members bill in parliament in 2010 suggesting changes in the country's controversial blasphemy laws. Following the killing of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer in early 2011, Ms Rehman said that her life was also in danger as the right wing parties had started to issue threats against her.