September 2003 News

Kashmir issue can be solved on N Ireland pattern: Maleeha

6 September 2003
The News International

ISLAMABAD: The Kashmir dispute can be solved the way the Northern Ireland issue was resolved, said Dr Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's high commissioner- designate to United Kingdom, here on Saturday.She said that she would ask the British government to take steps and help make a peace formula on the pattern of Northern Ireland.Talking to The News at her residence before leaving for London to assume her new responsibilities, Dr Maleeha said Britain can play an important role in resolving the longstanding Kashmir dispute as Britain's experience of resolving the Ireland dispute would be very beneficial in this regard.She referred to the four-point formula presented by President Pervez Musharraf and said both the parties must recognise that this is a 'dispute' only then can we move towards having concrete talks on the issue. She said the British government is of the view that Kashmir is an issue that can and should be solved. 'The major thing that I will tackle in Britain is the disinformation and propaganda against the Pakistani version on the Kashmir issue,' she added.Maleeha said the other main issue is of Pakistan's re-entry into the Commonwealth. She said as Pakistan has fulfilled all the requirements of the Commonwealth, therefore, there are no reason to keep Pakistan's membership suspended. Democracy has come back to Pakistan and all democratic institutions are working freely, she said and added, 'I will remove the reservations within the Commonwealth on the Legal Framework Order.'The experience I gained while being Pakistan's ambassador in the United States would come in handy in UK and that UK is not new for me. I studied here and later remained an Assistant Professor here for five years. And I have prepared myself a lot for my new assignment and have visited Azad Kashmir and met leaders and people from all walks of life in Muzaffarabad.'She said it is a matter of great honour that President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali have once again given her a chance to serve the country.She said: 'My top-most priority would be to protect the interests of the country aloft and keep a close contact with the media and think-tank groups.'The other important issue that I would be working towards would be to protect the rights of Pakistanis living in the UK. This would be a big challenge,' she added.


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