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Consul General of Pakistan Hamid Asghar Khan Recalled on Community Complaints

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Los Angeles, CA: The Consul General of Pakistan in Los Angeles Hamid Asghar Khan has been recalled by the Government of Pakistan on the complaints of the community.

Jabbar Memon, who is currently serving as the Director General Afghanistan in Islamabad, has been designated to replace Hamid Ashghar Khan at the Pakistan Consulate in Los Angeles.

Government’s dissatisfaction with the Consul General in Los Angeles Hamid Asghar Khan, largely stemming from the community complaints against him, forced his premature replacement, according to insiders. He has served less than a year at this posting. The normal tenure for such postings is three years. A report published in Pakistan’s leading newspaper Dawn on October 14, 2015 noted that this is not the first time that Khan has been recalled from a foreign posting.

This action by the Government of Pakistan comes after months of complaints by the Pakistani community in Los Angeles to Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jillani and senior political figures in Pakistan, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, and the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and Pakistan Army’s top brass.

Reports were filed by numerous individuals against Khan that included allegations of sexual harassment, behavior unbecoming of a diplomat, misconduct, intoxication during work hours and at official events/parties, fund embezzlement, solicitation of bribes, inappropriate/illegal involvement in local politics and mismanagement of Consulate affairs.

According to a Pakistani newspaper Daily Times report published in its July 8, 2015 issue the women at the Consulate office in Los Angeles and the Pakistani American community alleged that Khan repeatedly propositioned them and made untoward sexual suggestions. It has also been reported that Khan’s male chauvinistic remarks and behavior towards women created a hostile work environment for them at the Consulate. Three young women were hired by Khan as interns - none of whom is now working at the Consulate due to the poor work environment.

It has been alleged that Khan demanded that the interns and the staff bring him alcohol and then consume it, while in the Pakistan Consulate office. He would then proceed to become violent and abusive towards his colleagues. It has been reported that he would scream and yell at the staff and belittle his subordinates in front of the whole Consulate staff regularly. Several reports have been filed about his rude behavior while intoxicated at various private and official parties, some of which were held at his residence in the posh and affluent Beverly Hills area, where alcohol was regularly served.

One such report of Khan’s rude behavior while intoxicated was published in the May 5, 2015 issue of Pakistani newspaper Business Recorder. According to this report, in March 2015, Khan while delivering his official speech in the presence of over 100 guests at an event hosted by Pakistan Arts Council, insulted and physically threatened one of the guests, Dr Mansoor Shah. Dr Shah is a prominent and highly respected member of the Pakistani community. Following the speech numerous Pakistani and American guests complained of the incident to the Pakistan ambassador.

There are also reports of Khan’s disparaging remarks about the state of affairs in Pakistan and its leadership. One such report described Khan’s derogatory remarks towards Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif at a gathering. Khan was reported to lament about Pakistan’s political, and energy crisis, and repeatedly said that Pakistan continues to beg and survive on international aid. One of the guests expressed his anger and said, “It is the role of the Consul General to promote Pakistan abroad and to improve its image not to belittle it and bring it ridicule.” Following the event, Qamar Abbas Khokar, the Head of Chancery at the Pakistan Consulate, called all the guests present at that occasion, to apologize for Khan’s behavior.

It has also been alleged that Khan asked several prominent Pakistani-American and American businessmen for financial rewards. The businessmen reported that they were told by Khan that in order for them to bring much needed investment to Pakistan they would be required to give a commission or “kick back” to him.

It has also been reported that the payments for the interior construction work done at the Pakistan Consulate premises in February 2015, which included the construction of the ‘community hall’ at the Consulate, by Icon Architects - Icon Atelier Inc., a company owned by Pakistani–Americans, have not been made in full as of now. It has been alleged that the budget for the project was approved before the start of the project, but after the completion of the project in record time, the principles of the company were asked to donate all or portion of the invoice amount. It has been feared that though the Consulate received the full budgeted amount for the project, only portion of the funds was released to the company and the rest of the funds were used for possibly some unauthorized purpose.

It has been alleged that Khan’s behavior has not only offended the Pakistani community but also eminent American politicians and government officials, who have distanced themselves from Khan. These politicians and government officials have now refused to attend any future Pakistan Consular events. Tony Mendoza, a prominent California Senator, has publicly expressed his dismay and regret over Khan’s behavior and is one of the many American politicians who no longer attend the Consul General’s events.

Though the exact date of Khan’s departure from the Pakistan Consulate in Los Angeles is not yet announced, he is expected to leave his post before the end of December 2015.

Hamid Asghar Khan could not be reached for his comments.

Published Oct 30, 2015. To read this entire issue click on Pakistan Link, October 30, 2015

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