Pak envoy in Saudi Arabia called back

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Action taken on the orders of the Prime Minister; Pakistani labors had lodged multiple complaints;  Imran Khan says he did not know Bashir Memon

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia has returned to the country while orders have been issued to six other officers of the embassy in Riyadh to return over complaints by the Pakistani community in the kingdom, the Foreign Office said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered an inquiry and his directions were being implemented.”A high-powered inquiry committee will look into the matter,” it added.

The six officers who were issued recall orders worked in the diplomatic, community welfare, and consular wings of the embassy, according to the FO.

“The government of Pakistan attaches high importance to the welfare of overseas Pakistanis. There is zero tolerance, whatsoever, for any lapse in public service delivery,” the statement said, adding that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi himself oversaw the working of all diplomatic missions, particularly with regards to the services being provided to the Pakistani community.

“Pakistan’s missions, all across the world, have standing instructions to extend maximum facilitation to the Pakistani community in their respective jurisdictions.”

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said that the Prime Minister, “being cognizant of the complaints submitted to him by Diaspora in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and while expressing his displeasure on the performance, attitude and behaviour of officers posted in Pakistan’s Embassy/ Consulates in Saudi Arabia, has taken a serious view of the situation.”

The statement added that the premier had tasked the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission to inquire into the matter and submit its report within 15 days.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Imran Khan said that  “all the claims” made by Memon are “baseless”. “I had only directed Memon to investigate the iqama (work permit) case of PML-N’s Khawaja Asif,” the premier said.

The prime minister made the statements while speaking during a meeting with senior journalists and anchorpersons in Islamabad.

“The decision to investigate the case of Khawaja Asif was taken during a meeting of the federal cabinet,” the PM said, adding that he had directed Memon to investigate whether the country’s former foreign minister was holding a foreign resident permit and withdrawing a salary from foreign sources.

“All the claims made by Bashir Memon are baseless,” the premier said. “I have never directed him to initiate investigations or file any cases against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.”

The premier added: “Bashir Memon was not even authorised to file references [against a Supreme Court judge], so why would I ask him to do so in the first place?”

Responding to a question, the premier said that he had also not directed Memon to file any cases against Opposition leader Maryam Nawaz or anyone else from the PML-N or the PPP.

“I have never asked [the FIA] to file a terrorism case against Maryam Nawaz regarding the photograph of the First Lady,” the premier maintained.

“Bashir Memon used to only brief me about the investigation the FIA’s joint investigation team was carrying out against the Omni Group,” PM Khan said.