Maleeha Lodhi

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Her Excellency Ambassador
Maleeha Lodhi
Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan-US talks 2001.jpg
Lodhi (center) with fellow statesman Abdul Sattar in 2001
Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations
Assumed office
6 February 2015
President Mamnoon Hussain
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by Masood Khan
17th Pakistan Ambassador to the United States
In office
17 December 1999 – 4 August 2002
President Pervez Musharraf
Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
Preceded by Riaz Khokhar
Succeeded by Ashraf Qazi
In office
21 January 1994 – 30 January 1997
President Farooq Leghari
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Benazir Bhutto
Preceded by Syeda Abida Hussain
Succeeded by Riaz Khokhar
High Commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom
In office
1 April 2003 – 14 June 2008
President Pervez Musharraf
Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Shaukat Aziz
Preceded by Abdul Kader Jaffer
Succeeded by Wajid Shamsul Hasan
Personal details
Born Maleeha Lodhi
Citizenship  Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Alma mater Quaid-i-Azam University
London School of Economics
Karachi Grammar School
Occupation Diplomat, military strategist, academician

Maleeha Lodhi PhD (Urdu: مليحه لودهى) is a Pakistani political scientist, diplomat, columnist, and strategist who serves as the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, the first woman to hold the position.[1] She also served as President of the UNICEF Executive Board in 2015.[2] She has previously served as the High Commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom and prior to that, twice as the Pakistan Ambassador to the United States.[3][4]

Born in Lahore, Lodhi studied economics and political science at the London School of Economics, after receiving her doctorate in 1980, she stayed at the school as a member of faculty teaching political sociology.[5] She returned to Pakistan in 1986 to become the editor of The Muslim, making her the first women to edit a newspaper in Asia. In 1990, she moved to become the founding editor of The News International. [6] In 1994, she was appointed by Benazir Bhutto as Pakistan's envoy to the United States, a position she retained until 1997.[6][7] She was once again appointed on the same position in 1999 by Pervez Musharraf, a position she retained until 2002.[6][7]

In 2001, Lodhi became a member of the United Nations Secretary General's Advisory Board on Disarmament, she served on the board until 2005. In 2003, Musharraf appointed her as Pakistan's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, where she remained until she was re-called in 2008. Between 2008 and 2010, she served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School, Harvard. In February 2015, Lodhi was appointed by Prime Minister Sharif to serve as Pakistan's Representative of Pakistan to the UN in New York City, making her the first women to hold the position.

Lodhi is one of Pakistan's prominent diplomat's.[8] She has been named as an international scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and, in 1994, Lodhi was named by Time magazine as one of a hundred people in the world who will help to shape the 21st century.[9][10] Lodhi is also a member of the National Defence University's Senate, and is a member of the advisory council of IISS and is a member of the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum.[11][12] Lodhi is the recipient of the Hilal-i-Imtiaz for Public Service and holds an honorary fellowship from the London School of Economics since 2004 and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from London Metropolitan University in 2005. She is the author of two books, Pakistan’s Encounter with Democracy and Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis.[13][14]

Early life and family[edit]

Lodhi was born in Lahore, Punjab, to an upper-middle-class family.[15] Her father was the chief executive of the British-based oil company and was the first head of a British company in Pakistan.[15] Her mother received a MA in journalism and was offered a scholarship to study in the United States after graduating, but gave up a career in journalism to become a homemaker and look after her children.[15] Lodhi has two siblings.[15] Lodhi was married to a banker in London, but they divorced after five years of marriage.[15] Together, they have a son named Faisal, who is now married.[15]

Lodhi first received her school education in Lahore and Rawalpindi, but moved to United Kingdom. She attended the London School of Economics in 1972 to study economics.[16] She received her BSc in Economics, with specializing in government finances in 1976, worked towards attaining PhD in political science, which she was awarded in 1980.[16] Her doctoral thesis was against "Bhutto ka Bhutta khheecho", the People's Pakistan Party and political development in Pakistan,1967–1977".


External video
Ambassador Lodhi talked about Pakistan’s role in the U.S. lead coalition in Afghanistan and combating global terrorism. She also responded to viewer comments and questions.

She taught for a short while at the Quaid-i-Azam University, in Islamabad and at the London School of Economics for five years (1980–1985). Lodhi returned to Pakistan in 1986 after martial law had been lifted. Her phones were tapped and she was followed anyway. She joined and edited the English language newspaper The Muslim (1987–1990). She became the founding editor of The News International (1990–1993 and 1997–1999) and also became the first woman in Asia to edit a national daily newspaper.[17]

Dr. Lodhi became the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States under two different administrations: from 1993–1996 and then during 1999–2002 (in the process becoming Pakistan's longest ever serving Ambassador to the US), before relinquishing her post on the completion of her second tour of duty. Since 2001, she has also served on the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs (2001–2005) and continued to do so while holding the post of Pakistan's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (2003–2008).

"There is the view that during the Cold War, Pakistan was the most allied ally and then, within the space of just a few months, we became America's most sanctioned friend."

— Lodhi talking to The New York Times on September 30, 2001[18]

According to the Los Angeles Times, During a trip of three U.S. senators to Islamabad, Benazir Bhutto introduced Lodhi by saying "Meet Maleeha. She's my strongest critic." The same source claims that she is said to have brokered Bhutto's access to the late chief of army staff, Asif Nawaz, which helped pave the way for Bhutto's return to power in 1993.[19]

During her time as Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S she was present at the meeting on 12 September 2001, at the United States Department of State between Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Lieutenant General Mahmud Ahmed, the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. The meeting served as pivotal in Pakistan's role in War on Terror.[20] In 2002, during in interview with CNN, she said that 'We have to draw a distinction here between rooting out terrorism and the issue of self-determination of the Kashmiri people. These are two separate issues'.[21]

A recipient of the 2002 Hilal-i-Imtiaz Presidential Award for Public Service, she is the author of two essay collections: Pakistan’s Encounter with Democracy and The External Challenge (Vanguard and Lahore Jang Publications, 1994). Her latest book, Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State, was published in April 2011 (by C Hurst, Colombia University Press and Oxford University Press). In 1994, Time magazine cited Dr. Lodhi as one of 100 global pacesetters and leaders, who would define the 21st century and was the only person from Pakistan on that list.

We're struggling out here, but there is not enough knowledge. We're depicted sometimes as a rogue state, and that is not fair.

— Lodhi talking to Los Angeles Times on April 05, 1994, [22]

Ambassador to the United Nations[edit]

According to the Daily Times Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after extensive consultations with his close aide Sartaj Aziz, decided to appoint Lodhi in the UN. She succeeded Masood Khan in February 2015.[23] Lodhi made her debut address at the United Nations on 6 February 2015 where she called for 'addressing the underlying factors responsible for terrorism so as to formulate an effective and comprehensive response'.[24]

It took my country 67 years to send a woman to the United Nations, it takes a while, but eventually we get there.

— Lodhi talking to United Nations Population Fund Q&A on 11 Mar 2015, [25]

Addressing the Catalytic Partnerships for Gender Equality in Education event in United Nations on 14 March 2015, Lodhi said Pakistan has launched innovative schemes and pilot projects for girls’ education. Lodhi also said that the education voucher scheme launched in Punjab, as well as conditional grants that were given in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) have helped in promoting education in Pakistan.[26] She also hosted a lavish reception in honor of ambassadors and other prominent personalities at her residence.[27]

Lodhi while addressing the United Nations Security Council debate on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan she said that "The new Afghan government has called for dialogue to resolve differences through political means. There are encouraging indications that the Taliban may be willing to negotiate with the National Unity Government," Lodhi urged that "The Taliban will no doubt test the mettle of the Afghan National Security Force. It will need to demonstrate to them that a military solution is not possible,".[28]

"The prolonged conflict in Afghanistan has not only imposed epic suffering on its people, it has also prevented Afghanistan and the entire region from realizing its immense economic potential. A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is essential for regional stability and economic progress. As Pakistan has affirmed repeatedly, peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan's vital interest."

— Lodhi at the Security Council Debate on United Nations Assistnce Mission in Afghanistan.[29]

After assuming charge as the President of executive board of UNICEF, Lodhi in an Op-Ed for CNN argued that 'We must never accept a world in which humanitarian aid workers can be attacked and killed with impunity.' Under her leadership UNICEF has reaffirmed commitment to giving every child a fair chance in life.[30] On January 9, 2016, she ended her year long tenure as UNICEF President. Anthony Lake thanked Lodhi for her contribution to achieving UNICEF’s goals in 2015. She oversaw adoption of 16 decisions for several UNICEF programmes and endeavours including an increase in the Emergency Programme Fund ceiling.[31]

On 10 March 2016, Lodhi opposed adding new permanent members to the United Nations Security Council with or without a veto, adding that Pakistan supports expansion of the Security Council only in the non-permanent category.[32]

On August 29, 2015, Lodhi rang the opening bell at the NASDAQ in New York to signal the ceremonial start of trading, saying Pakistan’s economy is on the upswing as it pursues liberal economic and investor-friendly policies. This was the first time the stock exchange has opened its doors to an ambassador from Pakistan to ring the opening bell to mark its Independence Day.[33]

In February 2016, Pakistan Today reported that Hillary Clinton’s emails revealed that Lodhi apparently acted as an informal messenger between the Obama administration and former army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. In one of the emails by Vali Nasr to Clinton, Nasr wrote that “I got a call from Maleeha Lodhi, who is in London. She gave a message from Kayani", The readout of Kayani’s message through Maleeha — running into two paragraphs was classified.[34] On April 24, 2016, Lodhi met and invited Leonardo DiCaprio.[35] On 30 May 2016, talking to the students at the Harvard Kennedy School, Lodhi claimed that Pakistan’s massive military operation aimed at rooting out terrorism is in its final phase but the menace is not going to just go away unless there is peace on the other side of the border in strife-torn Afghanistan.[36]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maleeha Lodhi made Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN
  2. ^ UNICEF Executive Board reaffirms commitment to giving every child a fair chance in life
  3. ^ Block, Melissa (29 May 2009). "Pakistani Ex-Ambassador on Unrest". National Public Radio. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Maleeha Lodhi". The Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  5. ^ "New Permanent Representative of Pakistan Presents Credentials | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  6. ^ a b c Dr. Maleeha Lodhi
  7. ^ a b Haroon, Asad. "Dr Maleeha Lodhi appointed as Pakistan's permanent representative to UN Dispatch News Desk". Dispatch News Desk. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  8. ^ Shenon, Philip (2001-09-30). "PUBLIC LIVES; A Pakistani Diplomat, Staying Calm in the Storm's Eye". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-21. 
  9. ^ Pakistan appoints journalist Maleeha Lodhi as UN envoy
  10. ^ "Speaker-Lodhi" (PDF). 
  11. ^ Pakistan's new ambassador talks to Alice Thomson about Iraq, feminism and discos
  12. ^ "Maleeha Lodhi | SOAS, University of London". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  13. ^ "Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi as Chief Guest of Pakistan American Business Association to Ring The Nasdaq Stock Market Opening Bell". Reuters. 2015-08-27. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  14. ^ "Maleeha Lodhi appointed as permanent representative to UN - JAAG TV". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Thompson, Alice (27 September 2003). "Moderate voice of Islam". Pakistan's new ambassador talks to Alice Thomson about Iraq, feminism and discos. Telegraph, 2003. Telegraph. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Herald. "Brief review on Maliha Lodhi". Pakistan Herald. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "2008 Fall Resident Fellow". Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Profile : New Envoy Aims to End Pakistan's 'Rogue' Image : Maleeha Lodhi's credentials include an eye for power, a blue-blood pedigree, a career in journalism and a thousand-watt smile.
  20. ^ A Pakistani Envoy in Britain Defuses Cultural Land Mines
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Maleeha Lodhi made Pakistan's envoy to UN". DailyTimes. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  24. ^ Pakistan tells UN to address root causes for eliminating terrorism
  25. ^
  26. ^ Cash grants being given to mothers who enroll their daughters in schools: Maleeha Lodhi
  27. ^ Maleeha hosts reception in honour of envoys, celebrities
  28. ^ No military solution to conflict, Maliha Lodhi tells Afghan Taliban
  29. ^
  30. ^ Attacks on aid workers an attack on all
  31. ^ "UNICEF appreciates Maleeha Lodhi for her role as President of Agency's Exectuvie Board". Retrieved 2016-09-21. 
  32. ^ "Pakistan opposes new permanent members to UNSC". Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  33. ^ In a first for Pakistan, Lodhi rings NASDAQ's bell to mark independence day
  34. ^ Maleeha Lodhi acted as secret messenger for former COAS
  35. ^ "Maleeha Lodhi invites Leonardo DiCaprio to Pakistan - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-05-30. 
  36. ^ "We have beaten back terrorism: Maleeha Lodhi at Harvard University address". Retrieved 2016-05-30. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Syeda Abida Hussain
Pakistan Ambassador to the United States
January 1994 – January 1997
Succeeded by
Riaz Khokhar
Preceded by
Tariq Fatemi
2nd term
December 1999 – August 2002
Succeeded by
Ashraf Qazi
Preceded by
Abdul Kader Jaffer
Pakistan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
April 2003 – June 2008
Succeeded by
Wajid Shamsul Hasan