Obama urged to replace Holbrooke quickly

A Pakistani lobby urges US President to swiftly replace Richard Holbrooke.

Washington: A Pakistani lobby group has appealed to President Barack Obama to appoint a suitable replacement for special US envoy for Af-Pak region Richard Holbrooke, who passed away earlier this month, saying a new mediator is urgently needed to tackle regional tensions.

"While Mr Holbrooke can never truly be replaced, the need for a new mediator to deal with the tensions in Afghanistan and Pakistan is most pressing," said Ashraf Qazi, chairman of the Council on Pakistan Relations.

"Holbrooke possessed not only a special sensitivity but a deep, personal concern for the people of South Asia. Literally his last words on earth were to implore the world to bring an end to conflict in part of the world, as he had in Bosnia before," Qazi said in a statement.

Holbrooke`s "rough outside demeanour" hid a genuine compassion for South Asia, Qazi said, adding that this is the kind of commitment Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs to find in naming the next special envoy for the region.

"But the need is now. The ever-growing threat of terrorism and the powder keg that exists in Kashmir cannot go unattended much longer. There has to be a single person who can work daily with people in the area to bring a lasting peace," he said.

Council on Pakistan Relations describes itself as a national grassroots organisation for Americans interested in a better future and better relations between America and Pakistan.


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