NEWS DIPLOMACY PAK
UNDATED: Numerous incidents have come to light where Pakistani diplomats posted abroad have been found involved in heinous crimes, bringing considerable embarrassment to the country, an ANI report this week said. In the latest incident, Waqar Ahmad, a Pakistan foreign service officer posted as first secretary in Kiev, Ukraine was removed from service on May 7 following charges of sexual harassment by a local Ukrainian employee.
Ahmad was charged with gross misconduct, “unbecoming of an officer and gentleman and conduct prejudicial to good order and service discipline” according to a circular from Pakistan’s Foreign Office.
With such a notorious track record, it is not surprising that from May 2018 to 2019, the US had imposed travel restrictions on Pak diplomats, curtailing their movement beyond 25-miles radius around Washington D.C. without prior approval.
Incidentally, the current Pakistan Permanent Representative at the UN, Munir Akram, too has a damning domestic violence case against him in the U.S. in which he was let off because of his diplomatic immunity. While serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Akram courted controversy after being accused in December 2002 of domestic violence by his live-in partner.
Apart from such notoriety, Pak diplomats are well known for using host countries to target India, particularly pushing fake Indian currency notes (FICN) and terrorists, the ANI report said.
It said Mohamed Mazhar Khan, assistant Visa officer at Pakistan high commission, Bangladesh, was arrested in January 2015 by the Bangladeshi authorities for his role in the syndicate that was said to have been pushing counterfeit Indian currency to this country through the Assam and West Bengal borders. Documents in his possession also revealed that he was in touch with members of the outlawed terror group Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
Similarly, Farina Arshad, second secretary at the Pakistan high commission in Bangladesh was withdrawn in late 2015 after Idris Sheikh, an operative of the militant organisation Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB), admitted to having links with her. The list of such misconducts by Pak diplomats posted abroad is endless.
Amir Zubair Siddiqui, Counsellor (Visa) at the Pakistan high commission in Sri Lanka from 2009 to 2016, too was charged with conspiracy to attack nuclear installations, defence establishments, the US Consulate in Chennai, the Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru and other Indian ports.
Sources reveal that Pakistan Defence attache and ISI officer in Sri Lanka, Col. Shaharyar Butt too was repatriated following constant run-ins (2014) with his high commissioner, who did not take his throwing around the weight of his ISI clout too kindly. Significantly, Butt also bad-mouthed his own the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif.
Mohammed Arshad Cheema, first secretary, Pakistan Embassy in Nepal, was arrested on April 2001 by Kathmandu police with 16 kg of RDX. He is also believed to have been linked with the December 1999 hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight IC 814. Sources said that Cheema was one of the two Pakistani officials, other being his deputy Zia Ansari, who had met the hijackers at Tribhuvan airport shortly before IC 814 took off for Delhi on December 24, 1999.
Pak diplomats involvement in such illegal activity not only reflects poorly on the country they represent but also erodes Islamabad’s credibility in the eyes of the international community. Pakistan remains on the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) till June 2020 as it failed to comply with the 27-point action plan to control funding to terrorist groups.
FATF may take note about Pak establishments’ close nexus with terrorists and other illegal activities. The question remains whether the cover of diplomatic immunity should be removed by the host country for such diplomats to prevent them from executing their nefarious designs. – Agency, IHN-NN
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