Pakistan urges US to help defuse tensions with India


Speaking in the television programme of World Affairs Council, a Washington-based think-tank, Lodhi, however, said such a role required a more balanced policy on part of the United States.

“Somebody needs to play this role and we think the United States is in 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.”

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 70 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.”

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.

“It is important that Pakistan and India sit down and find a peaceful settlement of this issue to allow the people one fifth of mankind (living in South Asia) to enjoy the fruits of peace,” she said.