Ex-Pakistani minister Sania Nishtar in the run for top UN post

Pakistan’s former federal minister Sania Nishtar is in the final run among three other candidates to take over from Portugal’s Antonio Guterres as the next high commissioner for refugees.

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Nishtar, a cardiologist, former government minister and founder of a healthcare NGO in her native Pakistan, is the only non-European of the four candidates who have applied for the job and agreed to answer five questions posed by the International Council for Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), a global network of NGO’s with a long history of work on forced displacement issues.

She said that while candidates for top UN posts typically come from donor countries, selecting a candidate from the world’s top refugee hosting country would send a signal that all stakeholders matter and it would be empower the most affected countries to contribute.

Nishtar said her first refugee experience was in 1979 when relatives from Afghanistan arrived to stay with her family in Peshawar.

The other three candidates are the CEO of Save the Children International, Jasmine Whitbread; Former Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt; Filippo Grandi, the former head of the UN Relief and Works Agency.

Following are three other candidates;

Former Danish prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt



Jasmine Whitbread – CEO of Save the Children International


Filippo Grandi – former head of the UN Relief and Works Agency

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