New challenges for Fouzia Fayyaz, the first Pakistani female diplomat in Saudi Arabia

Bano Malik, Arab News, 02 May 2018

of Foreign Affairs appoints Fouzia Fayyaz as councilor at their Consulate
General in Jeddah. She is the first female diplomat from Pakistan appointed to
the Jeddah mission in its 70-year history
Fayyaz began serving as Councillor at Jeddah’s Pakistan Consulate General in
April 2018. (Photo courtesy: Fouzia Fayyaz)
In its 70-year history, Pakistan’s Consulate General in Jeddah had never
appointed a female diplomat — until last week, when it was announced that
Fouzia Fayyaz would be the councilor at the mission.
“I am very proud of Pakistan’s Foreign Service; it is their confidence in me
(resulting from) my service by performing my duty at important missions such as
Washington DC and New Delhi, that brought me here,” said Fayyaz.
The first female diplomat from her hometown of Rahim Yar Khan, in Pakistan’s
Punjab district, Fayyaz decided to go into the diplomatic service after
completing a master’s degree, having received her family’s permission to pursue
her dream and take her Central Superior Services exams.

service has always been open to the participation of women and has always
extended great roles to the Pakistani female diplomats who have been a part of
the organization,” Fayyaz told Arab News Pakistan, in an exclusive interview.
“[Currently] our foreign secretary, who is heading our institution, is Tehmina
Jenjua and women have [often] been sent to important capitals as ambassadors.”
diplomat Fouzia Fayyaz with the mission’s team in Jeddah on Pakistan National
Day. (Photo courtesy: Fouzia Fayyaz)

Her role
in Pakistan’s long-standing General Consulate is that of councilor, as part of
which she will assist the large expatriate Pakistani population in Jeddah and
the wider Kingdom.

“I am
looking after consulate services, which specifically deals with ID cards,
passports and other related issues, especially the issues of Pakistanis who are
detained or facing problems within Saudi jails,” Fayyaz said.

missions in Saudi Arabia cater to the needs of about 2.7 million Pakistanis,
and the expat community predominantly belongs to the laborer class. I really
hope that as an officer, as a diplomat, as a person who is heading the consular
services, I will be able to solve their problems, be as helpful to them as much
as possible and try to mitigate their hardships.

“I truly
hope that I will be able to play a positive role in improving conditions for
the Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia.”

landmark achievement of becoming the first woman to join the Saudi mission in
its seven decades of existence is an exciting, door-opening opportunity that is
not lost on Fayyaz.

“It’s an honor for me that I have been sent to Saudi Arabia (as) the first
female diplomat to ever be appointed to serve in the Pakistan mission (here),”
she said. “It’s been extremely positive and I am looking forward to seeing how
Saudi Arabia is transforming itself, with more and more space becoming
available for women to work and to become part of the workforce in Saudi