After Ukraine, Pakistani diplomat in Zimbabwe embarrasses Islamabad as human trafficking link surfaces

WION NEW DELHI May 29, 2020, 09.56 AM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

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The Pakistan mission had sent several diplomatic notes between November 2019 and May 2020 requesting a meeting with Zimbabwe's Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo.

After Ukraine, Pakistani diplomats have been caught in the tight spot again and this time in Africa. A local report in Zimbabwe has said that a Pakistani diplomat in the country has been involved in human trafficking.

"The Standard" of Zimbabwe reported that one Pakistan origin businessman Main Sohail Qaiser "tipped off the immigration officers that (3 Pakistanis)... intended to cross the border illegally with the alleged help of Waqas Ahmed, a Pakistani diplomat based in Harare, who is, however, still employed by the embassy."

Three Pakistanis were arrested on October 2019 sparking tensions between Harare and Islamabad with all 3 being tried in a court and being sentenced to 90 days in prison.  What has caused the alarm for the Pakistani mission was that Qaiser had interviewed the detainees in the presence of immigration officials and the interview the women had criticised Pakistan govt as a "facilitator of human trafficking" according to the report. The videos later got circulated in the country and local south Asian community causing embarrassment for the mission. 

The Pakistan mission had taken the matter with Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs ministry. In a letter as quoted by the newspaper, the Pakistani mission had said, "It is astonishing to note Mian Sohail Qaiser’s access to official and confidential documents in the highly sensitive institution like immigration and (the) foreign office (sic).”

The mission had sent several diplomatic notes between November 2019 and May 2020 requesting a meeting with Zimbabwe's Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo.

Meanwhile, Qaiser has accused the Pakistani mission in running a human trafficking cartel and claimed the 2 women were to travel to neighbouring Malawi from Zimbabwe and were later supposed to be "smuggled into South Africa with the help of Pakistani missions in both Malawi and Zimbabwe"

“They are criminals and they are engaged with the videos because I exposed to their country what they are doing here in Zimbabwe,” Qaiser said according to the newspaper. 

Earlier this month, a Pakistani foreign service officer, Waqar Ahmad posted in Pakistani mission in Ukraine was sacked by the govt in Islamabad over sexual harassment charges. He was involved in harassment of a local cleaner and involved in "abuse of authority", a Pakistani govt notification said.