ISLAMABAD: The federal government has appointed Dr Maleeha Lodhi as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations based in New York.
A statement issued by the foreign office on Monday said Maleeha will assume her responsibilities in February next year. She will replace Masood Khan and will be the first woman to represent Pakistan at the UN.
Maleeha has previously twice served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States (1993-1996 and 1999-2002) and has dealt with two different US administrations, led respectively by president Bill Clinton and president George W Bush.
Her second term in the US was especially challenging as it coincided with 9/11. To handle the situation, Lodhi took to the airwaves and defended Pakistan vigorously on television and became a familiar face on Western media.
After that she served as Pakistan’s high commissioner to the UK for 5 years from 2003-2008. On the 60th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence, she organised a big music and cultural event at Trafalgar Square, the first such event in a major capital.
She has also served as a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs (2001-2005). Maleeha has taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science, been a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, and an international scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC.
She is a member of the National Defence University’s senate and a member of the advisory council of the London-based International Institute of Strategic Affairs. She is also the recipient of the presidential award of Hilal-e-Imtiaz for public service.
Maleeha started her career in journalism and is the first woman in South Asia to become the editor of a national daily. She is among the leading writers and experts on foreign and security policy in the country and is the author of two books. In 2010, she also edited a popular collection, called ‘Pakistan: beyond the crisis state.’
Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2014.