Pakistan’s ex-envoy to Italy dismissed for sexually harassing female colleague

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A Pakistan federal ombudsperson has recommended dismissal of Pakistan’s former Ambassador to Italy, Nadeem Riyaz after he was found guilty of sexually harassing a female colleague, media reports said.

Pakistan’s Federal Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplaces Kashmala Tariq Khan announced the verdict on the complaint of Saira Imdad, who was posted as trade officer in Pakistan’s embassy in Rome when Riyaz was the Ambassador, Samaa TV reported.

In its verdict, the ombudsperson ordered the dismissal of Riyaz from the service and imposed a Rs 5 million fine, which would be paid to the complainant as compensation and the cost of litigation.

The ombudsperson has directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to implement the decision “in letter and spirit” within seven days and submit the report, Samaa TV reported.

In a tweet, the Imdad expressed her gratitude to Khan and her lawyer Muhammed Ahmed Pansota.

“Won my sexual harassment claim against Mr. Nadeem Riaz, Ex-Ambassador to Italy. It was a long fight for justice,” she tweeted.

She accused Riyaz of treating her in a “disrespectful, hostile and humiliating manner”.

According to the written verdict, Riyaz asked Imdad to travel with her to places unrelated to her job and find a residence near his house.

He also asked Imdad to race her car with his cycle, according to the document, Samaa TV reported.

Riyaz insulted Imdad without any reason and sexually harassed her. It made the work environment so hostile for her that she returned to Pakistan before the end of her three-year term.

Riyaz retired from foreign service in 2020 and was since posted as President of Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) on contract by the Foreign Ministry. The IRS is the official think tank of the foreign office.

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