Rumors are abuzz that Pakistan may be angling to put up Maleeha Lodhi, its former ambassador to the USA and the current High Commissioner to the UK, as a candidate for the position of the Secretary General of the United Nations. Indian media seems to be suggesting that this is in response to the Indian nomination of Shashi Tharoor. Ofcourse, Pakistan denies it, and with some hesitation I tend to believe the Pakistani government. Maleeha has proven herself to be an accomplished person and this would not be the first time a Pakistani would step up to such an exalted position at the international level. For example, our fomer ambassador in Washington DC, Mr. Ashraf J. Qazi, is now in Iraq as the Special UN representative – filling in the position of the UN diplomat who was killed in a bloody attack there. The big news here, however, is the fact that Maleeha is a women! if she indeed gets nominated by Pakistan, and more importantly endorsed by the US, then she would be the first woman to hold that post – a fine reason to celebrate Pakistani women. It is hard to not think of Benazir Bhutto at this time, who despite all the faults, at least left us with the legacy of being the first muslim state with a woman leader.
This has been a continuation of a string of good news for women in Pakistan. Newspapers reported yesterday that the Council on Islamic Ideology had agreed to amend the perverse Hudood Ordinance and incorporate it in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Criminal Procedures Code (CrPC). And today, 4 pakistani men, who were accused of kidnapping and raping a teenage Christian girl (in 1999), were punished by hanging to death. We need more good news like this.
And now for fun, here’s a video on Pakistani (esp. Pushto) women, who can certainly fight the fight: