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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 November, 2004, 16:46 GMT
UK Pakistanis urged to integrate
Asian women
British Pakistanis must take part in society, Dr Lodhi says
British Pakistanis should integrate more into UK society, Pakistan's high commissioner to Britain has said.

Dr Maleeha Lodhi said people cannot expect others to listen to their grievances if they isolate themselves.

She told the Yorkshire Post: "Nobody is asking you to give up your religion, your culture, your traditions."

Bradford in West Yorkshire was the scene of riots three years ago and since then a series of reports highlighted problems with segregation.

Education is a great opener of minds and hearts, there's no question about that
Dr Maleeha Lodhi
There are nearly 750,000 British Pakistanis in the UK - about 1.25% of the population.

Dr Lodhi spoke to the paper ahead of a visit to the region next year.

She said: "If you want to have an influence and an impact on this society you must be part of that society."

Home Secretary David Blunkett came in for criticism, claiming he was pandering to extremists when he urged immigrant communities to embrace Britishness and stressed the importance of learning English.

Bradford race riots
Segregation problems have been highlighted since the riots

Dr Lodhi also said: "Education is a great opener of minds and hearts, there's no question about that.

"It is the single most important factor to bring about enlightenment, a more enlightened view.

"You are more secure, you are more self confident.

"I can speak to you in your language and not think that I am losing anything in terms of my own language.

"I am very sure of my identity, she said, adding that she had concerns about the role of Pakistani women in British society.




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