German diplomat deputed in Pakistan could be recalled over groping allegations
A German diplomat, who was deputed in Karachi, could be recalled after a woman claimed that he sexually harassed her at an event co-funded by the German consulate, Deutsche Welle reported.
In November 2021, Canadian-Pakistani rock rapper Urvah Khan headlined an event for the LGBTQ community in Karachi. The event, ‘ScrapFest’, had been organized with help from the German Consulate and was meant as a “celebration, a showcase of the talented weirdos, queerdos and misfits from our society.”
At the event, which was touted to be a ‘safe space’ for members of city’s small LGTBQ community, a high-ranking German official allegedly not only groped a woman but also harassed several attendees.
Following complaints from attendees, Germany’s Foreign Ministry launched a probe. However, they told DW that following a month-long investigation, it found “no proof” of sexual harassment.
While the report is classified, the German government has decided to recall the diplomat.
Investigations carried out by the German news outlet DW suggests that the diplomat allegedly groped a woman as she moved past behind him.
A video of the event obtained by DW shows the victim walking past the diplomat and his arm moves with her for a moment. However, the frame does not exactly show him touching her.
Moreover, the outlet found that the diplomat had sought contact details of the victim from the event’s organizer by sending her picture. But when the organizer confronted the diplomat about the groping allegation, he gave an incredulous reply that betrayed intoxication at an officially sponsored event: “I did? Bloody hell! Bad!!! F*cking alcohol.”
“I only remember that she smiled at me very warmly, but I have absolutely no recollection of physical contact,” he reportedly said.
“I do not harass,” he later wrote.
All the witnesses the news outlet spoke to did not see the incident take place. They, however, all stressed that the said diplomat, who is in his 60’s, acted ‘creepily’ and made guests uncomfortable at the event.
One of guests told DW that he saw the diplomat putting his hand on his female friend’s back, forcing him to put himself between her and the German diplomat in order to protect her.
Another man who attended the event said he did not expected such behavior from a European diplomat, he said.
“He funded the event — so he might have felt like he was in a position of power. He was condescending, like he was superior to us,” the man said, referring to a speech the diplomat gave.
No one has filed for charges against him in Pakistan, partially due to the fact that the event was for the queer community and homosexual acts are considered a criminal offence.
While the laws are seldom enforced, homosexual acts are punishable by life imprisonment or even death.
Even today, the LGBTQ community faces oppression, stigma and violence. Trans people are among the most socially-marginalized groups in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Urvah Khan reached out to the German Foreign Ministry in April, almost six months after the incident, to complain about the incident.
What German law says about groping
Under German law, groping is a liable offense, punishable with up to two years imprisonment or fines. People who have been accused of carrying out an offense abroad can still face prosecution in Germany.
Following an official complaint, the German Foreign Ministry started an investigation into the matter and witnesses were interviewed.
The German Foreign Ministry concluded the investigation in mid-June but has kept details confidential. While it has barred the victim by from talking about it, DW claimed that the diplomat will be recalled in the coming weeks.
Responding to DW’s request for information, the ministry said that it reviewed all the evidence and talked to witnesses but the investigation could “not prove” the specific allegations of sexual harassment.
The investigation, however, did find “inappropriate conduct” and would draw the necessary consequences, the German Foreign Ministry said.
The victim appeared satisfied and told the German news outlet justice has been served to a certain extent.