A parliamentary panel has called for ‘stern disciplinary action’ against the ambassadors to Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for breaching lawmakers’ privileges and an immediate end to the miseries of overseas Pakistanis.
The parliamentary committee resolved to summon other senior officials deputed abroad to ensure better legal facilities for overseas Pakistanis facing legal action. “The Foreign Office and its missions abroad are not on the same page when it comes to pursuing cases of Pakistanis,” observed members of the Senate standing committee on rules of procedure and privileges. “Pakistani citizens are living like slaves.”
Senators Mir Lashkari Raisani and Dr Ismail Buledi moved privilege motions against the ambassadors for refusing to entertain them and in their opinion for their failure to resolve the issues of Pakistanis in their respective countries. Former ambassador to Iran, Muhammad Bux Abbasi refused to meet a delegation of senators visiting Tehran for import of electricity in the second week of June. Ambassador to the UAE, Jamil Ahmad Khan and the consul general refused to meet JUI-F Senator Dr Ismail Buledi who was on an official visit to the Gulf. The parliamentary committee had summoned Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, foreign secretary, ambassadors and the consul general of Dubai, to explain their stance, but none of them appeared before the committee on Thursday. Foreign office officials submitted a one-page reply stating, “Ministry of Foreign Affairs regrets the inconvenience caused to members of Senate.”
Committee chairman Col (retd) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi remarked: “They will have to appear before this committee at any cost.” Senator Sajid Mir said, “Foreign office and military officials think of themselves as holy cows, considering that they do not care for notices issued by the parliamentary committee.” Senator Wasim Sajjad, however, was of the view that the committee should make allowances for the officials’ engagements.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.