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SAARC to get its first woman chief
KATHMANDU, DEC 29 (Agencies):
Published on 29 Dec. 2010 11:52 PM IST
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Feminists will have something new to cheer about next year when regional grouping SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) gets its first woman chief in the 26 years of its existence.
The SAARC Secretariat at Kathmandu confirmed that Maldives’ former attorney-general Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed will be appointed the new secretary-general of SAARC on March 1, 2011 after the present chief, former Indian envoy to Austria Sheel Kant Sharma, reaches the end of his three-year term on Feb 28. Saeed, a former parliamentarian in her 30s, will also be the youngest SAARC chief ever.
The top post of the regional bloc, that became eight-membered following the induction of Afghanistan in 2007, is rotated every three years among the member countries. During the SAARC Summit of the heads of the states in Thimphu in April, Maldives, whose turn it will be to lead SAARC for the next three years from 2011, had proposed a woman official without however naming Saeed. Her name will be formally proposed by Maldives at the foreign ministers’ meeting in February, the Secretariat told TNN.
Besides making history, it is an additional feather in Saeed’s cap after her unceremonious sacking by Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed last year, a year after her appointment to the post. The removal is said to have been caused after she wrote a critical letter to the president, reportedly saying political appointees were trying to influence the May 9 general election.
However, her relations with the president improved and her nomination was agreed upon at the time of the Thimphu summit. Saeed is married to businessman and former MP Abdulla Jabir.

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