Maleeha calls Trump for more balanced policy in South Asia

UN decolonization agenda incomplete without Kashmir solution: Pakistan

NEW YORK: A top Pakistani diplomat has fervently urged the incoming President-elect Donald Tump’s administration to play a more proactive role in defusing tensions between India and Pakistan stemming from the “inflamed” situation in Kashmir and help resolve this decades-old dispute to usher in peace in the region.
“I think that can only happen if it (the United States) has a more balanced policy in South Asia,” Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said during a wide-ranging discussion at the platform of World Affairs Council, a Washington-based think-tank dedicated to open discourse across sectors to better inform on timely matters of global importance.
The discussion with Ambassador Lodhi was conducted by US Congressman James Moran at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations in New York. The event was part of a series about “Women Ambassadors in the United States.”
Asked about tensions between Pakistan and India, she said the United States is in a unique position as it has good relations with both Islamabad and New Delhi, enabling it to role of building bridges between two countries.
“Somebody needs to play this role and we think the United States is the best position to do that,” the Pakistani envoy said. “I mean at this point in time, for example, the situation in Kashmir – the long-standing dispute between Pakistan and India — is once again inflamed; the situation is grave, it poses a critical threat to regional peace and security and again, you know, what we like to see is the United States not coming as a fire brigade to put out a fire but to come in at a time where it can avert any kind of crisis from brewing and exploding actually.
“So I am not suggesting that’s about to happen but I am saying before the next crisis happens this is a role of leadership that the United States can play”.
Elaborating her call for a more balanced policy in South Asia, Ambassador Lodhi said, “In recent years we in Pakistan have felt that the United States lacked balance in its approach to South Asia, and as a result we lost something in the relationship…” She said the lack of balance was best represented in the nuclear deal — the civilian nuclear deal that the Bush administration pursued and in fact concluded with India — which was a discriminatory nuclear policy towards the region and had consequences for it.
Asked whether a plebiscite in Kashmir could pave the way to peace, Ambassador Lodhi referred to a series of UN Security Council resolutions calling for enabling the Kashmiri people to determine their own destiny that have not been implemented. “We say and I have said that several times at the UN that the people of Kashmir have waited for seventy years to see justice done to their cause, to see Security Council resolutions being implemented, so we do believe that the answer to the instability in our region which is caused by primarily and principally the dispute over Kashmir should be resolved …”
“This is no piece of real estate that Pakistan and India is fighting over, this is about people, it is about the self-determination of the people and their right to their self-determination is enshrined in the UN charter in UN declarations and in UN Security Council resolutions all we say is allow the people of Kashmir to decide their future.”
Regretting the continuing tensions between India and Pakistan, Ambassador Lodhi underscored the need for a dialogue to resolve the Kashmir and other issues between the two countries.

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