Sun, 29 Jan 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], December 8 (ANI): The violence against women in Pakistan, including the latest sexual harassment in the Pakistani Embassy in Mexico, is a result of the government's failure to act and the problem is systemic, Massimo Introvigne writes in Bitter Winter.

In Pakistan, sexual abuse is not highlighted as it should be. Instead of focusing on complaints by female diplomats and employees who denounce sexual harassment by male Pakistani diplomats, the magazine covering human rights problems is writing more gossipy stories.

Recently, the sexual harassment incident that took place in the Pakistani Embassy in Mexico turn out to be more gossipy. Instead of covering abuse, the story was about an older married man in a position of power who allegedly seduced a younger girl by promising he would divorce his wife and marry her, a promise he had no intention of keeping. If true, the story would not exactly be good PR for the Islamic Republic but would be as old as the relationships between married men and naive young women.

But there are female Pakistani Foreign Ministry officers and employees, who are still complaining about a consistent pattern of abuse. Looking at such complaints, Bitter Winter investigated the August 2022, sexual harassment case in the Pakistani embassy in Spain, Bitter Winter reported.

In August 2022, it was reported that a senior Pakistani diplomat who had held important positions and was then Consul General in Barcelona, Spain, had been accused of having sent harassing messages to a female staffer through social media and finally assaulted her in a hotel.

According to Bitter Winter citing "The Nation," "The Foreign Ministry sent a two-member team to Barcelona and Madrid to probe the case. They completed the investigation, on the basis of which the Foreign Office removed the officer from his position and recalled him to the headquarters in Islamabad, where he is facing disciplinary proceedings."On May 14, 2022, the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat for Protection against Harassment announced that "After threadbare security and analysis of the case and after completing the due process of law, accused Nadeem Riaz, head of mission embassy of Pakistan Rome Italy was proceeded against and imposed upon major penalty of dismissal from service under section 4(4) of the Act 2010." The former Ambassador to Italy was found guilty of having sexually harassed the female Pakistani Trade Officer of the Embassy for months. Italian media also took an interest in the case.

It seems that, after all, the source may be right, and women who work in Pakistani embassies in different countries do have a case, although of course accusations should never be generalized and we have no reasons to doubt that most of the country's male diplomats are not engaged in harassing female colleagues and employees, reported Bitter Winter.

Pakistan, however, doesn't take firm measures against these issues which are justified by the fact that the country should protect its status and image as an Islamic Republic. (ANI)

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