- Rehman served as information minister
- Haqqani resigned amid a probe into a secret offer by Pakistan's president to the U.S.
- Media reports have speculated Haqqani played a key role
A day after Pakistan's ambassador to the United States stepped down, Islamabad named Sherry Rehman as the new U.S. envoy.
A graduate of Massachusetts' Smith College, Rehman served as the information minister in 2008 until her resignation the following year. She is also founding chair of the Jinnah Institute, a non-profit public policy organization based in Pakistan.
She succeeds former ambassador, Husain Haqqani, who resigned Tuesday amid a probe into a secret offer to Washington by Pakistan's president to cut down the powers of the country's military leadership.
On Tuesday, a statement from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said Ambassador Husain Haqqani's resignation was necessary "so that the investigation can be carried out properly."
"All concerned would be afforded sufficient and fair opportunity to present their views and the investigation shall be carried out fairly, objectively and without bias," the prime minister's statement said.
Haqqani posted a Twitter message Tuesday saying the he "requested" that Gilani accept his resignation.
The ambassador offered to resign last week "or participate in any inquiry that brings an end to the vilification against the democratic government of Pakistan currently being undertaken by some elements in the country."
The controversy started with swirling media reports that President Asif Ali Zardari asked the U.S. government in May to help him hold on to power because he feared a military coup after the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Last month, Pakistani businessman Mansoor Ijaz sparked the political firestorm when he claimed in an op-ed piece for the UK-based Financial Times that a Pakistani diplomat used him to make Zardari's back-channel plea for help by delivering a secret memo to U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, then Washington's top military official.
Ijaz claimed Zardari offered a new "national security team" to take over the powers of the military leadership in exchange for Washington's assistance.
Media reports in Pakistan have speculated that Haqqani played a key role in the alleged offer.
Haqqani has denied the allegations, saying they are part of ongoing "smear campaigns" that have accused him of trying to undermine Pakistan's armed forces.
"No memo of the kind being discussed in the media was drafted or delivered by me," Haqqani said. "I have not been named so far as having done anything wrong by anyone except through innuendo."