- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Political Pakistanis

The Pakistani ambassador is urging Pakistani-Americans to get involved in U.S. politics and show their Islamic values and American patriotism in this presidential election year.

“Pakistani-Americans must play an active role in all stages of the election process,” Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi wrote in an open letter to U.S. citizens of Pakistani origin.

“Other American communities should see you as an active, concerned, cooperative, effective, dynamic, informed, organized and united community. Only then will your views count.”

Mr. Qazi told Pakistani-Americans that they should contact their political officials at all levels of government and reach out to other community associations.

“Project your Islamic values, Pakistani culture and American patriotism as much by example as by word,” he said. “Let Americans be proud of you as Americans of Pakistani origin and Pakistanis proud of you as Pakistanis in America.”

Mr. Qazi also announced plans to open a Jinnah Center, named for Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. The center will be located in the former Pakistani Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW and promote Pakistani history, philosophy and culture, the ambassador said.

The embassy also is compiling a directory of Pakistani-American organizations. Groups can register by sending e-mail to Mohammad Sadiq, the deputy chief of mission, at [email protected]

They should include: the names, addresses, e-mail and phone and fax numbers of the organizations; names of their officers; the purposes of the organizations; and their membership numbers.

Diplomacy wonk

What did British Prime Minister Tony Blair say about an investigation into his Iraq policy? Did Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham welcome the U.N. decision to send an electoral team to Baghdad?

Are Caribbean leaders upset over the possible division of the nation of St. Kitts and Nevis?

You would know the answers to those questions and more, if you had logged on yesterday to a new diplomatic Web site (diplomacymonitor.com) at the St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami.

The school developed a program that monitors statements by foreign governments and posts them in English.

“Basically when a foreign ministry posts communiques on the Web, the systems identifies it and makes it available to our editorial process,” said the university’s Tom Hillstrom.

A visit to the site yesterday found that Mr. Blair was “immensely grateful” that an investigation cleared his government of charges that it misled Britain on the reasons for the war in Iraq.

Mr. Graham welcomed the U.N. decision, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States expressed “deep concern” that Nevis is organizing a referendum on secession.

Friend in Lithuania

The Lithuanian ambassador was concerned that readers might have gotten the wrong impression about a comment from his president reported in yesterday’s column.

Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas faxed another statement from President Rolandas Paksas who emphasized that Lithuania “will continue to be a reliable ally” of the United States, although he seemed to be upset with the State Department on Monday.

Mr. Paksas, facing an impeachment inquiry over contacts with a reputed Russian mobster, complained that some U.S. officials appeared to be taking sides with his political opponents and called on Washington to stay out of Lithuania’s domestic affairs.

Yesterday, Mr. Paksas said he “understands that the political situation in Lithuania is observed by partners and discussed in other countries.”

“It is not unusual in diplomatic practice,” he said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected].

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