WASHINGTON, July 3,
2002 (NNI): In recognition of her meritorious services rendered
during her tenure as Ambassador of Pakistan to the
United States, an award “Ambassador of the Year” was conferred on Ms. Lodhi
at an elegant ceremony.
The ceremony was organized by Women Ambassador
Foundation. A large number of diplomats, officials,
academics, Congressional staffers and prominent Pakistanis attended
Former Assistant Secretary of state, Robin Raphel, currently president of
National Defence University, while giving the
prestigious award described Dr. Lodhi
as an outstanding diplomat, a professional, a patriot who is a real asset to
Pakistan in her role as a journalist and diplomat.
Former secretary of state, Madeleine K. Albright said Ambassador Lodhi had
to face this year formidable challenges which she
met with unparalleled skill and grace, thus refining the art of ‘shuttle
In the post 9/11 period, as events unfolded and Pakistan joined forces with
the United States in the war against terrorism,
Ambassador Lodhi’s reassuring eloquent and convincing presence on our
television screens reminded us of our common goals
of peace and security at the global level.
Dr. Lodhi who will relinquish charge in July after an inspiring record of
six in two terms here, spoke briefly reflected on
her experiences as Pakistan’s envoy describing it as most interesting and
also very rewarding period of her public career.
She has the satisfaction of having been part of a
process of continuous consolidation of one of
Pakistan's most critical bilateral relationships.
Past decade was the most testing for Pak-US relations after Pakistan became
the most sanctioned friend of the United States
from an earlier status of most allied ally. She
said professionally sanctions remained much of
preoccupation during her stay in Washington constantly arguing that they
were a blunt and punitive instrument, entirely
In her first tour of duty, Pakistan fought hard the infamous,
discriminatory, Pakistan-specific Pressler
Amendment. The passage of the Brown Amendment which provided a temporary
repreive was the outcome of shared labor of all fair-minded people in
the Clinton Administration, and the Pakistani-American community.
“ Today, we have -- in a very long time -- a
relationship free of sanctions,” she said adding that
Pakistan became a completely desanctioned country immediately after
9/11. It was due largely to the strategic choices
made by President Musharraf at a critical juncture in our history. Both
countries are now engaged in bringing about one of the most profound
transformations in this relationship.
Dr. Lodhi said the second most important challenge that she had to contend
with, on the professional plane, is public
perceptions and media depictions of her country and its policies. The
objective there was two-fold: the need to fight
intentional or unintentional is representations; and a positive
struggle to capture the ‘ hearts and minds.'
The idea was to serve as a kind of a bridge to promote
better mutual understanding. This has remained a
constant endeavor, entailing close interaction with think-tankers,
talks on campuses, sessions with editorial boards,
background briefings to reporters, and not the least TV appearances.
She said, “The hard part of TV appearances was to cur our South Asian
verbosity and come up with a sound-byte or two
every time in order to make your case simply, coherently and succinctly to a
viewing public, proverbially short on attention
The new threats illustrated by 9/11 have transformed
the traditional modes of thinking about national
security and foreign policy. This imposes enormous challenges for us
in our roles as diplomats, both in private and
You have to be unconventional and unorthodox, both in thinking and operative
strategy. A traditional approach would only take
us this far, especially in these testing times in this atypical capital in
the world, she added.
The President of the Women Ambassadors Foundation lauded the services
rendered by Dr. Lodhi as her country’s envoy and
towards bolstering women’s role in diplomatic spheres. She quoted Senator
Hank Brown that Ms. Lodhi “ is an absolute dynamo…
They could not have picked anyone with more energy
and brighter mind. I am convinced much of the improvements between the two
countries, the United States and Pakistan is because
of her incredible energy level…”
She said Dr. Lodhi has been able to not merely face the rapidly unfolding
events, she has shown a superb, elegant and
convincing way of conducting diplomacy, always reminding American audiences
and the world of the concept of sovereignty of
nations and the necessity for multilateral approaches to tackle problems as
difficult as terrorism and warfare.