Maleeha Lodhi is in an unforunate position. Less than eight weeks ago she was appointed as Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, a great honour, with a special mission to advance Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. While there she has taken a strong position that “peace needed a fast, not a slow track“. Her attempts at diplomacy at the UN are being openly undermined, however, by the words and actions from certain quarters back home.
Government continues to deplore Indian cross-border firings along the Line of Control while ignoring the actions of jihadi groups along the same. For more than a year, this has been taking place with the government trying to pretend that nobody can see the obvious. Earlier this year, Indian media reported that Hafiz Saeed was even spotted at a Pakistan Rangers Border Outpost, a report that was dismissed at the time until certain hard evidence began to surface giving it much more serious consideration. Now, new reports that new Lashkar-e-Taiba camps have begun to pop up have only created more concern that fresh attacks are in the works.
While favoured jihadi groups are setting up camps, certain Pakistani media voices are publicly cheerleading jihad, giving the impression that certain quarters are fully supporting the operations.
— Ahmed Quraishi (@AQpk) March 27, 2015
In diplomacy, credibility is everything. On 3rd February 2001, American Secretary of State Colin Powell gave what was considered to be a masterful performance at the UN which is best remembered for holding a vial that he claimed contained evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. A few years later, the truth was revealed and the celebrated diplomat was humiliated, terming the event himself as ‘painful’ and a permanent ‘blot’ on his career.
Maleeha Lodhi is tasked with the mission of trying to convince the world that Pakistan is an honest broker of peace in Kashmir while jihadis not only operate in the open, but with cheerleading from Pakistani media. It would be a shame to see such an accomplished diplomat let herself be led down the same road as Colin Powell and also find herself later lamenting a permanent stain on her career.