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Pakistan calls back envoy to UK over ‘erratic behaviour’ at London TV awards show

High commissioner Sahebzada Ahmed Khan seemed drunk when he spoke at the IPPA Awards 2018 ceremony.

world Updated: Sep 14, 2018 23:27 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Sahebzada Ahmed Khan,Shah Mahmood Qureshi,Pakistan High Commission UK
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi recalls the country’s high commissioner to the UK.(AP)

Pakistan’s envoy to the UK has been called back to Islamabad to explain his behaviour at a television awards ceremony in London after videos emerged showing him making a speech in an apparently inebriated condition.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi recalled high commissioner Sahebzada Ahmed Khan, a career diplomat who did a brief stint as vice-consul in Pakistan’s erstwhile consulate in Mumbai during 1992-93, and said in a tweet on Thursday that he was “dismayed by the actions” of the envoy.

In the videos that have gone viral, Khan can be seen behaving erratically and speaking incoherently for several minutes at the IPPA Awards 2018 ceremony held at London’s O2 arena on September 9. It is believed the high commissioner was drunk while he was on stage, Pakistani media reported.

The audience can be heard laughing as the envoy invites several celebrities to join him on stage. The diplomat is seen engaging in lighthearted banter with veteran actor Javed Sheikh, who has some difficulty in understanding what he is talking about.

At the time, actors such as Ahsan Khan, Sarwat Gilani and Mehwish Hayat were on the stage. The comperes for event can be seen trying to suppress their laughter while Khan is speaking.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Foreign Office said it had received news through electronic and social media regarding the “recent incident involving our high commissioner in London”. It said the matter was discussed with the foreign minister, who had sought a written explanation from the envoy.

“The foreign minister has called him to the headquarters for explanation as well,” the statement added.

A day later, Qureshi took to Twitter to reiterate the Foreign Office’s position. “I am dismayed by the actions of our high commissioner to the UK and have asked him to return to Pakistan and provide an explanation for his behaviour at the IPPA awards held in London,” Qureshi tweeted.

First Published: Sep 14, 2018 23:25 IST