The Pakistani government says allegations of rape and child kidnapping made against its diplomats in London were made by their spouses to help support their asylum claims.
The charges were levelled against two diplomats working at the Pakistan High Commission in Knightsbridge, Central London by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in its annual report of offences committed by foreign diplomats who enjoy immunity from prosecution.
The FCO has revealed that it has requested for the officials’ diplomatic immunity to be lifted in order for the allegations to be investigated.
A spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry however, said the allegations were “sketchy” and that the allegations were made against the diplomats by their wives when matrimonial relations ‘became tense’.
Tasnim Aslam Khan said that, in the alleged rape case, the woman had made the allegation when she wanted to settle permanently in Britain but her husband refused.
Ms Khan claimed a similar set of circumstances for the alleged child abduction case.
She added: “So, in both cases [the] allegations seem to be motivated by desire to seek asylum.”
The High Commission said in a statement: “The cases have their roots in the long standing family disputes where a member of the family had complained against the spouse.
“The High Commission for Pakistan is contesting the veracity of these allegations with the FCO while taking full cognizance of its obligations under the Vienna Convention.”
The two Pakistani officials are the only two South Asian diplomats on the FCO’s list of people wanted for a total of 14 “serious” offences which are defined as those that carry a sentence of more than a year.
Other offences in the list include claims of actual bodily harm against a Cameroon and a Zambian diplomat and a sexual assault alleged against a Zambian diplomat.
There were six drink-driving claims made – two against Saudi diplomats and one each against officials from Belarus, Macedonia, Kuwait and Zambia.
Under the Vienna Convention, diplomatic staff are expected to obey the laws of their host nation but are also granted immunity from prosecution.
This can only be waived by their own country.
But if a country refuses to lift that immunity, the host nation cannot stop the accused from leaving.
According to reports more than 21,000 people in the UK are entitled to diplomatic immunity.