High tributes were paid to Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, a Pakistani diplomat par excellence who passed away on June 21, at a solemn meeting organized by the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations on Monday to commemorate his life and services.
Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, who led the tributes at the largely-attended meeting, said he had served Pakistan with ‘dedication and commitment.’
Also speaking at the meeting were Syed Iqbal Riza, a former Pakistani diplomat and chef de cabinet to the former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, and the late ambassador’s daughter Nilofer Marker Reifler who reminisced about his efforts to promote Pakistan’s interests at world stage as well as his role in defusing international crises.
In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi said Jamsheed Marker has been described as a diplomat’s diplomat and a renaissance man, and said he was also a gentleman, a warm human being known for his generosity and openness.
‘He played a unique role in mentoring almost a generation of Pakistani diplomats as a teacher and an example to emulate,’ she said, adding that she had also learnt much from him when she came to Washington for her first tenure as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US while he was serving as permanent representative to the UN in New York.
‘Pakistan owes a huge debt of gratitude to Marker for his outstanding services to the country,’ Ambassador Lodhi told the distinguished audience.
‘Among his other contributions he played a key role in the negotiations that led to the Soviet military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was of prime importance for Pakistan and the region,’ she said.
‘Pakistan owes a huge debt of gratitude to Marker for his outstanding services to the country.’
Iqbal Riza praised Ambassador Riza’s qualities of heads and heart and said he had worked hard to project Pakistan’s positive image.
Ambassador Lodhi also read out a letter written by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Pakistan’s Interim Prime Minister Justice (Rtd) Nasirul Mulk, in which he also paid tributes to Jamsheed Marker ‘s excellent skills as a diplomat.
‘I wish to pay tribute to the significant role that the Ambassador played as a Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General to East Timor from 1997 to 1999, at a critical juncture of the negotiations leading to the popular consultation,’ Guterres said.
‘In my former role as Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic at the time, I deeply valued my many interactions with Ambassador Marker, who was a highly respected diplomat and peacemaker with a career that spread over a period of thirty years.’
In his message, Munir Akram, a former Pakistan permanent representative to the UN, said Marker epitomized the accomplished diplomat, communicating often difficult positions to his interlocutors and his Government without offering offence; respectful of different, even opposing, viewpoints; always searching for conciliation and compromise. ‘He raised cricket commentary to an art form and was perhaps the only non-American invited to commentate a New York Mets baseball game,’ he added.
The speakers thanks Ambassador Lodhi for holding the meeting, which was attended by diplomats UN officials and members of Marker’s family.