Ambassador of Nepal
Ambassador of Pakistan
Ambassador of Sri Lanka
South Asian Memories
the-south-asian.com December 2000
Page 2 of 2
Dr. Maleeha Lodhi
Ambassador of Pakistan to the U.S.
What would you ideally like to see happening in the South Asian region?
As a region we are not part of the global trend towards regional co-operation, regional peace, and emphasis on issues of commerce, trade and development – and that is a great tragedy – because the potential of South Asia as a region is enormous. Unless we resolve our political differences and resolve our outstanding disputes in the region, I cannot see how we will be able catch up with the rest of the world. We ought to be able to be part of the 21st century’s thrust towards co-operation – rather than towards confrontation, which has been our history.
Do you believe economic factors can eclipse political issues in the region?
I certainly do not believe that. Politics will have to lead the economics rather than the other way round, because that really is the lesson of South Asia’s history in the past 53 years. Peace processes that are band-aid solutions often come apart – we have learnt that from the experience in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
I find it very difficult to deal with leisure – my work has been my life. As a journalist and a diplomat I have worked in the same mode. I don’t have hobbies but I do enjoy our classical and semi-classical music, western music – particularly jazz. I also have a house to tend to – this often escapes people! Women play so many multiple roles, which men tend to overlook. One is active on so many fronts that there is very little time left for leisure.
I have a 22-year-old son who has just started his first job at J.P. Morgan in New York. I am thrilled that he has crossed a critical milestone in his life and is starting life out. I try and find as much time as I can to spend with him – he is the greatest joy of my life.
Politics and foreign policy have remained my passions – I enjoy reading on these subjects
Jinnah remains my role model. I have also admired people like Mandela – he is a model of how you transcend the bitterness of the past and forgive your enemies and opponents. He is one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century – without a doubt. These are the sort of people one has looked up to.
Qualities admired in others
Human compassion. That is a quality I admire most in other people. Life is not just about careers or attaining more material goals – it ought to be about how productive a member you are in the society – at a human level.
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