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A parliamentary panel on Wednesday recommended the government to recall two senior diplomats, including Pakistan High Commissioner to South Africa Sohail Khan, from two foreign missions and stop them from any diplomatic assignment until completion of an inquiry in a criminal misconduct case against them.

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior chaired by Senator Rehman Malik passed the recommendation following Director Islamabad Zone, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Mazhar-ul-Haq Kakakhel briefed the committee that the FIA investigation has found that criminal misconduct was committed in 2013 when the current High Commissioner to South Africa was Pakistan's ambassador to Bangkok who along with others transferred a national of Myanmar through fake documents declaring him a Pakistani national. He further stated that FIR No. 26/2015, dated April 13, 2015, u/s 34, 109, 409, 420, 471 PPC r/w 5(2)47 PCA and 14 Foreigners Act 1946 and 04 Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 was registered against Ebrahim Koko Klaing and others.

He said Ebrahim Koko Klaing was transferred to Pakistan under "Agreement on Cooperation in the Transfer of Offenders and Enforcement of Penal Sentences" between Pakistan and Thailand as Pakistani national, who is actually a Myanmar national contrary to facts.

During investigation, he said that sufficient evidence was found against the officers of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan's Embassy in Bangkok. He said that the Embassy officials transferred Klaing to Pakistan despite prior information provided to it by National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) in 2013 that Ebrahim Koko Klaing is not a Pakistani national.

Besides Ambassador Sohail Khan, he said, investigations were also conducted against other officials of the Pakistan Embassy in Bangkok namely Ata-ul-Munim Shahid and ex-counselor Amjad Amin. He said that another official Mohammad Ashraf Bhatti was also under arrest and the investigation was continued.

He told the committee that Klaing is currently in Adiala jail Rawalpindi while Ambassador Sohail Khan has got a court bail and was posted to South Africa as high commissioner.

However, taking strong notice of the matter, the panel recommended the government to recall both the ambassadors from abroad and stop them from holding any ambassadorial assignment until completion of the inquiry. The committee also called foreign secretary to its next meeting to brief the committee on the departmental inquiry and disciplinary actions taken against the officials concerned.

Briefing the committee, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that during the recent visits of the foreign minister, the regional countries including China, Iran and Turkey have supported Pakistan's stance in the wake of US President Donald Trump's recent allegations against Pakistan. He also dispelled the impression that China has changed his position following the recent BRICS Summit in which some Pakistan based terrorist outfits were mentioned as source of concerns, saying the said organizations were already proscribed in Pakistan and the same were also mentioned in the last year in Heart of Asia Conference in India and Pakistan was taken on board.

The committee also deferred a bill namely Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which suggests omission of section 325 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 - to exempt from punishment survival of a person for attempted suicide due to depression and frustration. The committee also invited input from Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and representatives of Pakistan Psychiatric Society in its next meeting on the bill. The committee also urged minister for interior to convey to the Prime Minister to immediately appoint chairman CII.

The chairman of the committee Rehman Malik also raised the issue of providing fundamental rights to members of transgender community. He stated that PPP government had for the first time issued CNICs to transgender community. He highlighted that the Mughals used to appoint transgender people to positions of trust and authority, unlike today where well educated members of transgender community are denied jobs. He further said, "It is our duty to encourage members of transgender community a respectful status and a law must be made to protect them from public harassment." Malik further emphasized that character assassination of politicians and their family members on social media shall be stopped immediately and social media bullies must be punished.



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