Envoys do nothing, but always look busy | Pakistan Today

Envoys do nothing, but always look busy

FAISALABAD: Jamil Fakhri, one of the legends of Pakistan, a great PTV artiste of the past and recipient of various awards, including Pride of Performance, made head lines this week when all the newspapers and TV channels carried his heart-wrenching appeal seeking the government’s help to trace his missing son, Ayaz Fakhri, who disappeared in America some 22 months back.
Our frontline political figures were first to shed crocodile tears over the plight of the family to gain cheap popularity. They visited his house, spoke on telephone and issued press statements scoring a crucial publicity point.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the US in a few days confirmed the murder of the missing man and the hunt came to a tragic end for the artiste. The murder has re-launched an old debate on the performance of our envoys. As a former overseas Pakistani, I have spent the best part of my life abroad and I am a humble witness to numerous stories of failures of our diplomats considered as the second line of defence, next to army, assigned to safeguard the interests of Pakistan in the alien lands.
More than 90 per cent Pakistanis scattered throughout the length and breadth of globe are grossly dissatisfied with the way the envoys are discharging their duty. The luxuries of enjoying protocol, an inherent lust to make money and a diehard status consciousness are the salient features of our diplomats.
Indian envoys have a down-to-earth approach when they go out to represent their country. In Bahrain I have seen the Indian ambassador visiting even single-shutter shops asking the shopkeepers to add more Indian products to their stock. But their Pakistani counterparts have no time for this low-profile diplomacy to promote exports.
There are many instances when a Pakistani labourer dies in an accident in a Gulf country, our embassies do not bother to take up the matter. Their role is limited to documentations only. Most of the arrangements are undertaken by Pakistani volunteers or social organisations.
Our embassies have been given a mandate to promote Pakistani manpower in the host countries but instead of that they do the other way. A famous name in Pakistani politics, General Asad Durrani, during his appointment as an ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was involved in a bitter standoff with the Pakistani community on the issue of a Pakistani school and threatened to get those Pakistanis deported who were opposing his stance.
Pakistani ambassador to Damascus recruited all his family members at high salaries in an embassy-run school there. Pakistani Embassy to Bahrain fought a long court battle to take control of Pakistani school there just to have access to its accounts. Some of the Pakistani envoys take personal favours contrary to the dignity of their office. The son of a Pakistani ambassador in Bahrain was given an important job by a Shaikh just as a favour.
There was no duty, no office and no terms of reference but there was a regular salary. An outgoing deputy ambassador was gifted with an expensive Rolex watch but he kept the gift for himself without bringing into the official record. This is not the only case; there are many stories of diversified corruption.
A Bahrain-based human rights activist and lawyer, Isa Bu Rashid, was so furious at Pakistan embassy in Bahrain over its failure to stop the unjust deportation of a Pakistani worker that he wrote an angry letter to the then President General Pervez Musharraf to call back the ambassador for failing to do his duty.
Our envoys are doing the things that are not part of their duty; at the same time they are omitting to do what they are sent to do there. But the sins of omission are always worse than the sins of commission.

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