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Plight of Pakistani diplomats in foreign missions in prevailing situation

Islamabad

April 2, 2020

Islamabad : The diplomats, posted in the foreign missions in capitals and cities of United States and European countries, have been declined by the host governments to oblige them with any preferential or exclusive attention in prevailing emergency situation due to outbreak of coronavirus in the countries of their posting.

In the meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood is in constant contact with country’s missions across the world with regard to state of health of Pakistani diplomats posted abroad. Well-placed sources told ‘The News’ here that the Foreign Secretary has asked the missions to report immediately to the headquarters in case of any untoward development.

A senior diplomat posted in New York told this scribe that US authorities concerned when asked about any arrangements for the diplomats in case of any emergency, they made it clear that the diplomats will be required to approach the health facilities available in that city like other inmates. The diplomat said that New York health facilities are in shambles and the health system has been choked due to unbelievable high number of the coronavirus victims. The diplomat said that members of the mission are confined in their respective residences but fear of pandemic is haunting them. The authorities have enforced rationing of food items but incidentally prices of essential items are under control.

Likewise, another female diplomat told this scribe from Washington that Pakistan embassy is open and working according to the requirements since Pakistan’s ambassador Dr. Asad Majeed is regularly attending the embassy. He is in constant contact with the host government. The diplomats who are not attending the office, perform their duties while staying at home. The diplomats attending the office are following turn bases routine. She said that like New York, US capital Washington is also deserted which was used to called as world capital. The diplomat said that people from New York are rushing to Washington as the US authorities have planned to put most part of New York under quarantine. It has enhanced the fear of being infected due to rush of the people coming from New York.

A diplomat in Barcelona said that fear of death is prevailing in every house of Spain irrespective of diplomat or anybody.

A Pakistani diplomat working in Rome said that none is sure that he would be returning back to the country alive or not. The disposal/burial of the dead has become problem for the authorities in one of the most advanced country of Europe.