Sunday December 04, 2022

Harassment case: Diplomat recalled from Spain, suspended

August 13, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The government has ordered an inquiry against Pakistan’s consul general in Barcelona, Spain, for his alleged involvement in a harassment case.

A local employee of the mission had lodged a complaint against Mirza Salman Babar Baig in June this year. The diplomat has been suspended and recalled. The Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that Babar Baig had been recalled. Diplomatic sources told The News on Friday that Pakistan’s ambassador in Spanish capital Madrid, Shujaat Rathor, who received the complaint, had held an initial inquiry and verified the charges.

The Foreign Office also assigned two senior diplomats, Khalid Memon, Pakistan’s ambassador to Poland, and Mariam Madiha Aftab, Pakistan’s ambassador to Bulgaria, for another probe. The two also endorsed the findings of Ambassador Shujaat Rathor. They recommended immediate recall to Pakistan of Babar and punitive proceedings against him under the rules. Sources pointed out that the harassment had taken place in April, May and the beginning of June, and it was in the office after sending all male employees home before time.

Sources said the employee is a mother of three and it was her fourth year in the consulate. Before June 15, 2022, when she firmly put her foot down and stopped the advances of the consul general, she was often praised as the “best of the best” in the mission.

Sources said that State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar had been playing a pro-active role in the mater for getting justice for the victim. They said the main evidence against the diplomat was text messages in an inappropriate language and instances where the victim was expressing her apologies and regrets.