In 2002, Mushtaq Rizvi, then Pakistan’s deputy ambassador to Indonesia reported to the Foreign Office of an allegedly illegal plan to sell off the Pakistani Embassy building in Jakarta. He was rewarded by being made an officer on special duty (OSD) – civil service speak for being suspended.
Nine years later, a subcommittee of the parliamentary public accounts committee has taken up the case of the unfairly punished diplomat, even though he is no longer alive to see his claims vindicated.
On Wednesday, a five-member inquiry committee of the Foreign Office testified before the PAC subcommittee that the then-Ambassador Mustafa Anwer, a retired general and a close personal friend of then-President Pervez Musharraf, sold the building that housed the Pakistani embassy to Indonesia.
According to the auditor’s testimony, the ambassador sold the property in his personal capacity and did not inform the Foreign Office of his plans, let alone seeking Islamabad’s approval. The sale was arranged between Anwar and a private party in Indonesia without any public advertising. The auditors also said they found evidence of embezzlement in the case.
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, a Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz MNA from Lahore and chairman of the subcommittee, directed the auditors to submit a detailed report within six weeks and name the officials responsible for covering up the incident and punishing Rizvi.
“This case should be made an example for those who exploit honest officers,” said Sadiq.
According to Sadiq, the investigation so far has proved that the former ambassador misappropriated Rs14 million in addition to violating several laws in selling the building.
Anwar has been summoned before the Foreign Office’s inquiry committee to tell his side of the story, should he so desire.
Rizvi’s widow attended the subcommittee hearing. In her testimony, she alleged that Javed Masood, then Cabinet Secretary (one of the three highest positions in the civil service) had been responsible for the unfair treatment of her late husband, claiming that he did so to get an extension on his contract. According to Rizvi’s widow, an inquiry committee that was constituted by then President Musharraf to investigate the unlawful sale of the Jakarta embassy building submitted a report that blamed her late husband and let Anwar, in her eyes the real culprit, off the hook.
Rizvi was eventually found innocent of any wrongdoing, but only after his death, when it was “of no use”. His widow said that Rizvi was under tremendous stress during the initial inquiry and the ‘injustice’ meted out to him.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.