Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday named former Federal Minister Sherry Rehman, a close aide of slain Ex-Premier Benazir Bhutto, as its new envoy to the US following the resignation of Ambassador Husain Haqqani over the 'Memogate' controversy.
    
The appointment of Rehman, 50, was announced by the Prime Minister's House shortly after she met Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani this afternoon.
   
Rehman had quit as Information Minister in March 2009 following differences with the top leadership of the ruling Pakistan People's Party, including President Asif Ali Zardari, over the government's handling of relations with the media.
   
Though she was subsequently sidelined by the PPP, Rehman has rebuilt her relations with the party's leadership in recent months.
   
She has also played a key role in foreign policy issues, including relations with India and Afghanistan, through her NGO Jinnah Institute.
   
Haqqani was asked to resign by Prime Minister Gilani on Tuesday to facilitate a transparent investigation into the controversy over a secret memorandum sent to former US military Chief Admiral Mike Mullen in May that alleged the powerful Pakistani military was plotting against the civilian government.

Rehman's appointment indicated that President Zardari and the PPP want to retain influence on Pakistan-US relations by having an independent-minded envoy, analysts said.
   
Earlier reports had suggested that Foreign Minister Salman Bashir, perceived to be close to the military establishment, was among the contenders for the post of Ambassador to the US.
   
Others believed to have been in the running for the post earlier included Ambassador to the EU Jalil Abbas Jilani, a close relative of Prime Minister Gilani, and former envoy to the US and Britain Maleeha Lodhi.

Agencies