Acting British High Commissioner Ray Kyles was summoned to the foreign office on Friday and conveyed Pakistan’s serious concern and consternation over the treatment meted out to Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain, former MNA, and brother of PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, and others accompanying him at the Gatwick Airport, London.
However, the acting high commissioner did not tender an apology over the incident. Chaudhry Wajahat and his companions were detained under the anti-terrorism laws and grilled for 24 hours at the London airport before being deported to Pakistan.
Acting Foreign Secretary Moez Bokhari, in half-an-hour meeting, asked the British envoy to explain the circumstances which had led to this ugly incident and ensure that such incidents were not repeated.
Not satisfied with the explanation provided by the acting high commissioner, he was asked to convey to London that Pakistan expected a ‘report’ after a thorough investigation. The acting foreign secretary was informed that the British government “regretted” the incident and explained that it took place because of misunderstanding.
“He added that a senior official of the high commission had visited the family to personally convey regrets on this incident. He clarified that these persons were free to travel to the UK and their visas remain valid,” the spokesman at the foreign office said.
Pakistan has asked the British envoy to thoroughly investigate the incident and provide a report. “The Pakistan high commission in London is pursuing the matter with the British authorities,” added the spokesman.
The News understands that though there was no apology, the acting high commissioner appeared “apologetic” at his meeting at the foreign office. Regrettable was the fact that in time of distress, Pakistani citizens were not allowed to get in touch with their high commission in London.
The understanding, according to our foreign office, is that in this case expressing ‘regrets’ was enough, as an ‘apology’ is reserved for an incident which has been done knowingly but something that could be avoided. One wonders whether the Gatwick incident falls into this category.