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Hina Rabbani Khar MP – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan

I was privileged, at the recent South Asia Economic Summit, to hear Hina Rabbani Khar, the Pakistani Foreign Minister, an extremely attractive young lady of what seemed enormous intelligence. She was quite definite in her commitment to greater regional cooperation, and in particular to improving trade and connectivity, in particular with India.

I was reminded then of reports of the visit of the Indian Foreign Minister to Islamabad. Mr Krishna is an old man, but also very wise, and very kindly it seemed, in the meeting we had with him last year, when a Parliamentary delegation visited India. I could imagine he and his Pakistani counterpart had got on very well, given the combination of charm and intelligence that both evince – which sadly we in Sri Lanka have not yet understood have to go together, thinking one or the other enough, with disastrous consequences.

Hina Rabbani forcefully made the point that all major parties in Pakistan understood the need for good relations with their neighbours and in particular India. Peace within, she noted, would only come when there was peace outside. Given the abuse of the Pakistani people by interest groups, both internal and external, pursuing their own selfish agendas, abuse that sadly many Pakistanis promoted given their own political predilections, it was a relief to feel that current policy was based on promoting common interests.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

November 2012
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