Thursday, October 6, 2022

FO regrets Sindh police conduct during UN chief’s visit

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office has expressed displeasure to the Sindh government over the unbecoming conduct of police during UN Secretary General António Guterres’ visit to Karachi on Sept 10.

In a letter to the Sindh chief secretary, the FO’s Karachi camp office listed police actions during the secretary general’s visit to Karachi that were believed to be inappropriate, and asked for ensuring that the same were not repeated during future high-level visits to the city so that they do not cause “unnecessary embarrassment”.

Mr Guterres, while on a visit to Pakistan for expressing solidarity with flood victims and appealing for assistance, travelled to Karachi from where he visited flood-affected areas.

During Mr Guterres’ stay in Karachi he was provided security by the Special Branch and Special Security Unit.

“The performance of both units left a lot to be desired,” the FO said and pointed out both “shortcomings” and “excesses”.

The FO alleged that the Special Security Unit officers used the UN secretary general’s presence for projection of their unit.

“The officers of the unit entered the state lounge, where their presence was not required. They also insisted on allowing their photographers to enter the State Lounge,” it added.

The SSU men later kept intruding into the hotel room where the secretary general was giving interview to an international broadcaster and his guards had to stop them several times from entering the room.

Some SSU officers, accompanied by a few other people, also made “unauthorised entry” into Mr Guterres’ hotel suite to present a gift and take photographs.

Similar instances involving the Special Branch were also mentioned in the letter.

While confirming the development, FO spokesman Asim Iftikhar said the letter had pointed out protocol issues noticed during the secretary general’s visit.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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