Mumtaz Zahra Baloch appointed fourth FO spokeswoman – 12 Nov 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) Friday announced its fourth spokeswoman in the male-dominated ministry, who would be assisted by a woman diplomat as deputy spokeswoman.

The next announcement by the FO shortly will be about the new foreign secretary, whose name has been finalised. Ambassador Mumtaz Zahra Baloch has been appointed as the spokeswoman, replacing Asim Iftikhar Ahmed, who has been appointed Pakistan’s ambassador to France.

The post of a deputy spokeswoman has been created for Ms Saima Sayed, while a third woman diplomat, Sidrah Aslam, will be a director at the spokeswoman’s office. Pakistan’s Foreign Office has always boasted of outstanding women diplomats and today the minister of state is also a woman. Ms Hina Rabbani Khar has played a major role in encouraging women diplomats working at the ministry and the change seen today to strike a balance has also been credited to her.

The ministry’s first woman spokeswoman was Ambassador Tasneem Aslam in 2005, and she was followed by one of Pakistan’s outstanding diplomats, Ambassador Tehmina Janjua in 2011, who later rose to become the first female foreign secretary. The third FO spokeswoman was Ms Aisha Farooqi, who was appointed in 2019.

According to a statement from the Foreign Office, Ambassador Mumtaz Baloch is a career diplomat and walks in with an impressive resume and currently serving as additional secretary Asia & Pacific.

She has previously served as ambassador of Pakistan to the Republic of Korea (2020-2021), Minister/Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing (2015-2020), Counsel for Political Affairs at the Embassy of Pakistan, Washington, DC (2006-2011) and as Second Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations, Geneva (1999-2002). Her deputy, Saima Sayed, is also a career diplomat, currently serving as director general Strategic Communications.

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