Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 5, 2017

Newsline: North Korea Claims Pakistani Tax Officials Assaulted Diplomat

North Korea’s embassy in Pakistan has accused the country’s tax authorities of assaulting a diplomat and his wife, claiming armed officials broke into their Karachi home and held guns to their heads, an official confirmed. The written complaint, seen by AFP and addressed to the chief of Pakistan’s Excise and Taxation department, demands action against the officials and warns the incident could seriously impact diplomatic relations. It said at least 10 armed men from the department burst into the diplomat’s Karachi home on April 9 and attacked him and his wife, dragging her by the hair and hitting them both in the face before aiming guns at the couple. They also shot at photographs of the couple, the letter alleges. “This is a very serious issue and we have set up a high-powered investigating team to probe into the allegations framed by the Korean embassy,” said Shoaib Siddiqui, chief of the department. The incident was recorded on closed circuit television cameras, the letter, dated April 27, claimed. “We will examine the CCTV film so that we can identify the men,” Siddiqui said. The diplomat’s role in Karachi is not known. Pakistan and North Korea are infamously linked by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, who admitted in 2004 that he ran a nuclear black-market selling secrets to rogue clients including Pyongyang. He later retracted his remarks and in 2009 was freed from house arrest, although he was asked to keep a low profile.



Newsline: Russian Embassy in UK Trolls British Media

The Russian Embassy in London has decided to poke some light fun at The Times newspaper’s expense, responding to a story about alleged EU meddling in Britain’s upcoming parliamentary elections. This week, Prime Minister Theresa May openly accused the EU of interfering in the country’s snap general election, scheduled to take place next month. The Times newspaper decided to run May’s remarks as a front page story headlined “Brussels is meddling in our election, warns May.” Russia’s Embassy to the UK, well-known for its pithy commentary on some of the ridiculous claims against Russia levelled by Western politicians and media, couldn’t resist trolling the newspaper, May and the mainstream establishment media in general through Twitter, writing “Praise God it’s not Russia this time” along with a snap of The Times cover story. The Embassy’s sarcastic comment was a concise reply to claims regularly made by Western officials and media that Russia was somehow interfering in elections, from the US presidential race in 2016 to elections in France, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere. Last month, a UK parliamentary committee even hinted that Russian hackers may have attempted to interfere in last year’s Brexit referendum.