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Sexual harassment of Christian woman by official at Pak Embassy in Thailand may have been undertaken by serial offender!


Wilson Chowdhry submits letter of complaint at Pakistan Embassy.

On 6th June 2017 British Pakistani Christian Association revealed the sordid actions of an official named Ayaz deployed at the Pakistani Embassy in Thailand.  Ayaz holds a senior position at the Embassy where he is responsible for machine-readable passport processing and was caught on audio via a secret recording device trying to seduce and sexually harass a 23 year old Christian asylum seeker woman seeking a new passport.  

When visiting the Pakistan Embassy in Thailand to seek a passport renewal Maherwar was asked to attend a private meeting to discuss her options.  Ayaz informed her initially that he could not undertake the passport processing as officially asylum seekers were not permitted renewals.  A statement that was opposite to what Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association Wilson Chowdhry was told by the Third Secretary for the Embassy Kamran Dhungal.  Ayaz said he would make a way for her to obtain a passport but because he did not want to be caught helping suggested they meet in private after he finished work.

Maherwar has agreed to waive her rights for anonymity as she bravely seeks justice.  

Maherwar failed to attend the initial meeting and cancelled several others. However, worried that Ayaz might cancel her passport application unduly after several threats Maherwar agreed to meet Ayaz in private. BPC concerned about her safety organised a chaperone who would follow at some distance and audio equipment to make sure she was safe.

However on the day of the meeting Ayaz changed venues a few times and Maherwar found herself locked in a disused flat.  Here she was offered a drink that she refused three times despite a very forceful attempt to make her drink it - Maherwar believes it would have been laced with a sedative such as rophenol.  She was also smacked and threatened during a traumatic incident that resulted in her pushing Ayaz's shoulders with all her might after he attempted to kiss her.  
The force of her push made Ayaz lose his balance and as he fell to a bed Maherwar escaped by unlocking the door to the room in which she was held captive.  Maherwar ran towards a lift and then had to endure a frightening moment as she prayed for lift doors to shut, watching as a raging Ayaz ran towards her with venom in his eyes. Read full story (click here)

Listen to the full audio here but be warned the last five minutes provide a very harrowing experience as you hear the progressive panic in Maherwar's voice (click here)

This incident was fraught with criminal intent and unprofessional conduct. Third Secretary Mr Dhungal had only weeks earlier explained that there would be no discrimination in obtaining a passport renewal as Pakistani Christian asylum seekers do not revoke their citizenship until a request is made. Yet Ayaz had denied such access to Maherwar's apparently obligatory documents. Documents she needed to seek a bank account, student visa and for other ID purposes.

Several crimes were committed such as sexual harassment, kidnap and potentially drugging an innocent women, which provide a poor indictment of an official working for the Pakistan Embassy.  

However, when Maherwar described the incident to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees she was advised not to go to the police despite being a UNHCR registered asylum seeker.  This meant that Ayaz remained deployed in a position of authority where it was possible he could reenact his sexual depravity on other innocent unsuspecting women. Despite an emotional interview only days after the incident during which Maherwar would have exhibited extreme trauma she was not offered any counselling. 

On 25th May British Pakistani Christian Association registered a complaint at the Pakistan Embassy on behalf Maherwar Ishaq, and sought ''the removal of a sexual predator amongst your employed staff'.

The Pakistani Embassy's reaction to the incident has been galling. They have stated that they require an interview with Maherwar Ishaq but refuse to hold the interview on neutral ground.   Mr Chowdhry obtained a concession form the UNHCR who agreed to provide an officer who would act as a chaperone for Maherwar on neutral territory.  UNHCR are refusing to provide a chaperone at the Pakistan Embassy which left Maherwar and BPCA in a quandary. 

However an appeal through a BPCA friend led to a contact with a charity that provides legal assistance to asylum seekers in Thailand, which has resulted in a solicitor who has taken up her challenge with the Pakistan Embassy.  They are flabbergasted that the UNHCR did not send Maherwar to the Police who they believe would not have arrested her but would have taken appropriate action against Ayaz the sex pest.  However as the crime had gone beyond 3 months it was no longer able to be prosecuted under Thai law.

After a prayer request for Maherwar released by the BPCA reached a supporter in Canada, she informed us of a very similar incident of sexual harassment of a young Pakistani woman at the Pakistani Embassy in Canada.  Bizarrely or coincidently the man involved in that assault was also working as lead officer for machine-readable passport processing.  In that incident the unnamed assailant who locked an innocent unsuspecting woman in a room and attempted to sexually assault her, accused the woman of 'being a liberal and a model' states the Toronto Sun  (click here). The original article has been archived but can be referenced (click here) Like many men brought up in a sexually repressed and patriarchal Pakistan, his comment  and actions exhibits an expected sexual neuroticism and deviance.

What has shaken the BPCA team to the core is the fact that the initial response from the Pakistani Embassy which was copied to the Christian Post (click here) , who were helping us with our inquiry stated the following:

"Dear Sir/Madame,

Thanks for your response. Embassy has taken a serious note of the complaint by Ms. Maherwar Ishaq as it is unprecedented. Therefore, a committee will conduct an enquiry into the matter and it includes one female member, Aqsa Nawaz, Head of Chancery, who will provide every possible mental and psychological relief to the applicant.

However, as per the rules of business, the enquiry committee can't conduct officials meeting outside the Embassy premises to probe the matter. Hence, it is emphasized again that Ms. Ishaq may be asked to approach the Embassy directly or we may be provided her contact detaila so that the just be done after complete investigation. Given the sensitivity of the charges, it is once again assured that Ms. Ishaq will be provided every possible assurance for her safety during the course of investigation.

Moreover, we don't see any role of UNHCR or any third party into the matter as it will be dealt according to the set rules and regulations which are very clear.

We would appreciate your quick response so that the relief may be provided to the alleged victim and her dignity may be restored at the earliest.

Best Regards

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

If you note the word 'unprecedented' above has been highlighted in bold and underlined by the BPCA.  We are concerned that the similarity of the two incidents would suggest that the perpetrator could well be the same man.  The fact that both men held the same role and enacted very similar attempts at sexual harassment provides a little too much coincidence.  The previous incident was in 2012 some five years ago and would suggest that if the assailant is the same man that he may well have undertaken his depraved actions on many other silent victims. We have asked the Embassy to advise us if the man named in the previous incident was Ayaz and whether despite evidence of clear wrongdoing he was simply transferred to another embassy. However, we have received no reply from the Embassy.  We have shared this concern with senior Government officials in Pakistan and the UK Pakistan High Commission but we still have had no response.  Thus far the Pakistan Embassy have still not interviewed Maherwar at an independent location despite recognizing her trauma and anxiety to enter their premises.

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:

"Maherwar has lost immense confidence and morale.  After fleeing Pakistan the land of her birth with her family she entered Thailand intent on restarting her life. Here she has been met with re-persecution and the ignominy of being sexually harassed due to her new found statelessness and associated vulnerability. 

"The very fact that a Pakistani official has been recorded and seen by a material witness undertaking a very unprofessional out-of-hours meeting, with intent of sexually harassing or undertaking more dire sexual depravity with a vulnerable young woman, should lead to his immediate dismissal.  Yet we find 'Ayaz' is being protected by coworkers intent on undermining the process of justice - a warped beareuacratic reality that has consumed Pakistan.

"Christian girls are worthless in Pakistan and quite clearly elsewhere in the minds this particular Pakistani official.  In Pakistan they are perceived as toys to be used for sexual gratification in a culture that has resulted in a damning statistic of 700 Christian girls being kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriage every year.  

"People in the west have to seek justice for Maherwar and in doing so illustrate to many Muslim men in Pakistan that such behaviour is simply intolerable. If not an ongoing social malaise will continue to grow and spread through migration and eventually manifest in our own communities - if it has not already done so."

British Pakistani Christian Association have moved Maherwar and her mother to a place of safety due to Maherwar having disclosed her address to the Pakistan Embassy during her application for a passport renewal.  
This has become a weighty burden as we had to find a location which was away from other Pakistani asylum communities and inevitably costs more then the accommodation we would usually source for asylum seekers.

To help balance our books we are seeking donations that could help towards the regular cost of £200 per month. If you feel you can help please donate by clicking (here)

Maherwar narrowly escaped an even worse incident that would no doubt have escalated beyond sexual harassment.   Her fear-induced strength enabled her to push the sex pest away from her as she escaped from a locked room, a chilling moment no women should have to suffer.  Her desire for justice is being met with a brick wall of apathy and we call on people to join our campaign for justice for Maherwar.  

If you feel disgusted at the lecherous behaviour of a Pakistani Embassy official in Thailand, please sign our petition (click here).  Please also encourage media groups to write about Maherwars plight.

Please email the Pakistani Embassy in Thailand and request justice for Maherwar Ishaq and immediate removal of sex pest Ayaz: parepbangkok@gmail.com  

Please email the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and ask them to keep women safe from Ayaz:
secretary@president.gov.pk and info@pmo.gov.pk

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