Friday, June 26, 2009

Kashmir gives US its Muslim face

Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has appointed Farah Pandith to serve as special representative to Muslim communities, in charge of a new office that is responsible for outreach with Muslims around the world.

According to a notice published by the State Department June 23, Special Representative Pandith and her staff will carry out Clinton’s efforts to “engage with Muslims around the world on a people-to-people and organizational level.”

Pandith previously was an adviser on Muslim engagement at the State Department, serving as a senior adviser to the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.  She has also served on the National Security Council as the coordinator for U.S. policy on outreach to Muslims, and worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development on assistance projects for Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Territories.

Pandith, who is Muslim, immigrated to the United States with her parents from Srinagar, Kashmir.  She told the Italian press agency Adnkronos in 2007 that she sees her personal experience as an illustration of how Muslim immigrants to the United States can successfully integrate themselves into American society.

She said that along with the importance of education, “I also learned … to balance pride in my cultural heritage with a deep attachment to the values of America."

In his June 4 speech in Cairo to Muslims around the world, President Obama said he was seeking “a new beginning” between the United States and Muslims “based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and … based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”

The United States and Islam share common principles of justice, progress, tolerance and “the dignity of all human beings,” Obama said.  He also urged Americans and Muslims to commit themselves to a “sustained effort to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.” (See “Obama Calls for a New Beginning with Muslims Around the World.”)

 Help us to resolve Kashmir; Pakistan tells world

We Will Help, Every Possible Way: US

Islamabad, June 25: Prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Thursday called upon the world at large and the United States in particular, to play their role towards resolution of “core issue” of Kashmir as well as the water issue between Pakistan and India.

Talking to General James Jones, US national security advisor, the prime minister said resolution of Pakistan’s core issues with India would help Pak leadership to focus on war against extremism on its western border to ensure peace and stability in South Asia.
The Obama Administration would help in “every possible way” to settle the
Kashmir problem and to resume the stalled Indo-Pak dialogue, General Jones said while responding to Gilani’s call.
“The US government would help in every possible way for the resumption of dialogue between Pakistan and India and for resolution of the core issues like Kashmir dispute and water distribution between the two countries,” Jones was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the prime minister’s house in Islamabad.
Underlining Pakistan’s strong anti-extremist action, the prime minister expressed his disappointment over the world’s response to help Pakistan win against evil forces and provide relief to the dislocated people, had not been adequate.
He urged the
United States to write off Pakistan’s debt to help in overcoming its immediate economic difficulties and make up for the economic losses it suffered as a frontline state in fight against extremism.
The prime minister noted that while
Pakistan’s law enforcement and anti-terror campaign in Malakand division was now nearing a successful conclusion, the promises of capacity building of its law enforcement agencies still remained unfulfilled.
He emphasized that once military action was over, these agencies would take over. It requires new recruitments, proper training and adequate equipment and should be provided a social safety net to cater for their families in case of casualties.
Gilani said the dignified and honourable return of dislocated persons to their homes must be facilitated for winning the hearts and minds of people, for which the international community had to fulfill its responsibility.
The prime minister also expressed his concern that there would be an influx of refugees from
Afghanistan, in the aftermath of new deployment of US and NATO forces there. He also called for stopping the drone attacks in order to ensure success of Pakistan’s strategy for isolating the militants from the tribes.
US national security advisor expressed his full agreement with the views of the prime minister and assured him that the US government would do every thing it could to help Pakistan.
He reaffirmed president Obama’s keen desire to have a long-term multifaceted and strategic cooperation with
Pakistan under a new comprehensive regional strategy.
General James Jones further stated that the
US government would help in every possible way for the resumption of dialogue between Pakistan and India and for resolution of the core issues like Kashmir dispute and water distribution between the two countries.


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