Removal of Pak Diplomat from Service: Indian Media Manipulates the Issue
Surprisingly, Pakistan’s media did not give much coverage to the removal of country’s diplomat from service and manipulation of the issue by the Indian media at this critical hour when top officials of the Indian extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi-the leader of the fanatic ruling party BJP and their media leave no stone unturned in maligning Pakistan through a continuous blame game in relation to any matter such as violations of the Line of Control (LoC), COVID-19 pandemic and so on.
However, Government of Pakistan maintains strict discipline on its servants and expects them to display high moral character on official duties. In this regard, Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a yard extra careful and keeps strict eye on its functionaries posted in the missions abroad.
In similar vein, Mr Waqar Ahmed, a BPS 18 Foreign Services of Pakistan diplomat posted in Pakistan’s embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, as First secretary was under observations for the acts falling below the dignity of his post.
According to the statement of Foreign Office, “he was charged with gross misconduct, conduct unbecoming of an officer and gentleman and conduct prejudicial to good order and service discipline”. He has also been charged with sexually harassing a local cleaner/messenger, abuse of authority, creating a hostile environment and unlawful termination of a local employee.
After having found him guilty of the charges the diplomat has been removed from the Service with immediate effect on the orders of the Foreign Secretary on May 5, 2020, under the Government Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 1973.
Nevertheless, the action against the diplomat is purely routine matter and reflects strict regulations the Government of Pakistan maintains about its officials.
But, the Indian media, famous for its absurd reporting has found the issue interesting enough for manipulation. Misinterpreting the fact, the Indian media has reported that the officer as belonging to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)—the primary intelligence agency of Pakistan, thus, using it as a pretext to spit venom against ISI.
Here, question arises, who can forget very funny Indian media reporting about ISI, which failed to remember their star spy master serving Navy commander Kulbhushan Yadav who was arrested red handed, while involved in terror activities inside Balochistan province of Pakistan.
As far as foreign diplomats are concerned, a serious diplomatic row between the United States and India appeared on January 9, 2014 after a high-tension drama resulted in the effective expulsion of an Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade from the US. Devyani Khobragade, the former deputy consul general of the Consulate General of India in New York City, who was charged by the US authorities with committing visa fraud and providing false statements in order to gain entry to the US for Sangeeta Richard, a woman of Indian nationality, for employment as a domestic worker. The diplomat was additionally charged with failing to pay the domestic worker a minimum wage. The situation got to the point that the Indian diplomat was arrested by the US federal law enforcement authorities, and even subjected to a strip search. Her arrest and treatment received much attention of the international media.
Similarly, in September, 1999, another major scandal involving an Indian diplomat centered on an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer who was married into the family of then chief minister of West Bengal Jyoti Basu and posted in Switzerland came to the limelight. The Indian diplomat Emanuel Barua was hastily moved to the Indian consulate in Birmingham after he was alleged to have ill-treated his maid, while he was posted in Geneva. The allegations against Barua were also raised by the Committee Against Modern Day Slavery, the organisation which also accused the Indian diplomat of sexually abusing and mutilating his maid, Lalita Oraon.
Likewise, in October, 1999, similar charges were also made against Amrit Lugun, a first secretary at the Indian embassy in Paris.
It is notable that Indian media in its twisting reporting to defend the various abusive cases of Indian diplomats said regarding a scandal that only medical investigation will ascertain when Lalita Oraon was wounded-if it had happened in her village in Bihar, it would probably have gone unnoticed. But, when 19-year-old Lalita Oraon, lying badly injured on a hospital bed in Paris, told her story it threatened to kick up a major diplomatic row.
In this connection, the non-governmental organisation is known in Europe by its French acronym, CCEM. It is the campaign by the CCEM against Barua and, now, against Amrit Lugun, a first secretary at the Indian embassy in Paris, which has persuaded the Indian government that Lugun is the victim of a frame-up by the NGO.
It is mentionable that in another huge embarrassment, the Indian government accused one of its diplomats of handing secrets to ISI in 2010. Madhuri Gupta, a 53-year-old second secretary at its Islamabad High Commission, had been charged with espionage. Gupta, who had worked in the press and information section for three years, was arrested after being called back to New Delhi on the pretext of discussing a regional summit in Bhutan.
In this context, in an official statement, Vishnu Prakash, the then spokesman for India’s ministry of external affairs had pointed out at that time: “We have reasons to believe an official in the Indian high commission in Pakistan has been passing information to Pakistani intelligence officials.” While, Indian renowned news agency, Press Trust of India had reported that the then head of India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Islamabad was also under investigation ‘on similar charges’.
Nevertheless, it is expected that these few events into the professionalism and credibility of Indian diplomats will prove to be a good food for thought for New Delhi as well as their media which is hell bent on negatively twisting even a routine matter of the removal of the Pak diplomat from service. Instead of manipulating the issue to fulfill their anti-Pakistan agenda and sinister designs against Islamabad, including ISI, India should puts its own house in order first by paying attention to the abuses and clandestine activities of the Indian diplomats.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations