NEW DELHI: A female academician from Punjab accused some senior staff of the Pakistan High Commission in the visa section in Delhi of indecent behaviour and sexual harassment.
She had applied for a visa to travel to Pakistan and had booked an online visa appointment with the Pakistan High Commission. The female professor alleged that during this time another employee came and started asking her personal questions, which made her uncomfortable.
The employee asked me, "Why am I not married? How do I live without marriage? What do I do for my sexual desire?" "It was also asked whether I support Khalistan. Or can write on Kashmir issues?" she told ANI. "He began asking me why I wasn't married. How do I live without marriage? What do I do for my sexual desires?" The female academician was uncomfortable with the questions and tried to divert the topic.
However, the Pak official still insisted on asking the same questions and began telling her of some sect of Muslims where they can marry for a few hours adding, "it's basically for this purpose only." The Pak visa official also stated that it was easy for them as Muslims to marry four times. "
It is easy for us Muslims as we have a choice to marry 4 times. Even if we get bored by one, we can marry another. Does your religion allow the same? Does your religion allow extra-marital affairs?" said the Pak official.
Narrating her horrible experience to ANI, the female academician further said that the Pak High Commission official directly asked her, "do you have someone you can have sex with or not? How are you living comfortably without having a partner?"
The academician was aghast with such lewd talks and became very uncomfortable and started looking at the watch and asked him to go get the visa officer, she narrated.
However, the official said that there is still time and some meeting is going on so he shall go at 2 pm only and cannot go earlier. "I continued to be polite and tolerated him as I wanted the visa. 45 minutes of this torture continued in which he narrated stories of war and how men who come back after a long gap need sex etc," she narrated the entire incident to ANI.
According to a WhatsApp chat screenshot which the victim has sent to ANI, it is alleged that he (Pak diplomats) asked her to write against the Government of India and was offered handsome remuneration. Although she refused to do so.
The victim has written a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs and authorities concerned about the harassment and seeking justice, she approached media houses after she is not getting proper responses.
In her complaint to External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, she demanded that the matter be taken up. She also sent screenshots of the WhatsApp chat with the Pak High Commission staffer to the EAM.
"I wish to inform the indecent and objectionable behaviour of officials of the High Commission of Pakistan, New Delhi during my visit for obtaining a visit visa and also a month later over the phone and chat on my personal number," the female academician told ANI.
Describing her horrific experience to ANI over the phone, she said, "On March 15, 2022, I had a visa appointment at the High Commission which I had booked online over the website. I reached around 9:45 am and entered the complex around 10:00 am.
I was asked to wait for an hour and a half in the waiting lounge inside the High Commission. I was asked a few general questions about my visit and then later asked to go to a room where I waited along with some officials for another few minutes before the visa officer arrived.
He asked me the purpose of my visit and some other questions wherein I explained that I wish to visit Lahore, photograph the monuments and write on them (my hobby) and then visit Abbottabad University for a lecture at the University (I was sponsored by Professor of University as both of us are academics in the same area).
In less than 2 minutes he told me that the visa cannot be granted." During chats for visa approval, the Pakistan High Commission officials asked her to come for dinner and stay with them.
"Their behaviour was rude and uncouth, unlike my earlier experience in Dec 2019 wherein I was treated with great respect and dignity," she told ANI. The female professor said, "no one paid attention to her case. All I want is justice and punishment for them as per law.
" Meanwhile, Pakistan said that it is looking into Indian Woman allegations over 'indecent behaviour' at their High Commission in Delhi. On being asked about sexual harassment case Pakistan High Commissioner said in a statement. "
In response to media queries regarding reports in sections of Indian media, the following is attributable to Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "We attach high importance to proper etiquette and behaviour towards all visa and consular applicants.
All our diplomatic staff is under strict instructions to conduct themselves professionally. While we are looking into this case, we are surprised at its timing and the manner in which it has been raised.
There are robust mechanisms in place for the redressal of all public grievances. There is zero tolerance for misbehaviour and mistreatment of individuals visiting our Missions."