Thanks to China and Pakistan, the ambassadors are back in news these days. No, not the good ol’ ones, the ones with capital A once manufactured by Hindustan Motors but the accredited diplomats sent by states as their permanent representatives in foreign countries.
Two interesting developments over the past few weeks have proved that the human machinery produced by these two nations is as unreliable as the mechanical ones pushed and promoted by them. Well, nobody really knows about any ‘world class’ product from Pakistan—except for their much-hyped pace battery in cricket and, of course, their terrorists—but yes, ‘made in China’ was popular once upon a time!
The first case has embarrassed Pakistan badly, not for the first time though. It is about a retired Major General Syed Mustafa Anwar who, as ambassador to Indonesia, sold off the Pakistani embassy building in Jakarta at “a throwaway price” at the beginning of the new millennium.
Yes, you read it right—the ambassador had sold off the embassy building in 2003 without the knowledge or approval of his country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry during 2001-02.
Pakistan’s leading daily ‘The News’ had reported the scam but it was said that Anwar, a relative of then President Pervez Musharraf’s wife, was let off and action was taken against the man who reported the alleged fraud.
Now, as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan’s top anti-graft body, investigates the corruption charges against Anwar, the Pakistani media has brought the case back in limelight. The corrupt politicians, generals and diplomats of Pakistan have become fodder for memes.
The second case, a much recent one and involving Pakistan’s iron brother, has ruffled feathers in Beijing as it has become tabloid fodder in London.
On Wednesday, the Twitter account of Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom, ‘liked’ a 10-second pornographic clip. The rest, as they say, is history.
An experienced ‘wolf warrior’ who’s always ready to up the ante and spout empty rhetoric, Liu has over 86,000 followers on the micro-blogging site which ironically is banned in his country. The ‘like’ remained for some time and was noticed by the world before it was ‘unliked’ and a statement issued by the Chinese embassy.
“Recently, some anti-China elements viciously attacked Ambassador Liu Xiaoming’s Twitter account and employed despicable methods to deceive the public. The Chinese Embassy strongly condemns such abominable behavior. The Embassy has reported this to Twitter company and urged the latter to make thorough investigations and handle this matter seriously. The Embassy reserves the right to take further actions and hope that the public will not believe or spread such rumor,” it said.
The Ambassador, who’s had many run-ins with the British media, also re-tweeted the Embassy statement with a comment “a good anvil does not fear the hammer.”
However, the damage has already been done. The British journos are masters in taking a tongue-in-cheek dig and social media is always unforgiving these days.
No wonder then that the ambassadors, past and present, are turning red and a huge embarrassment for their countries.