Pakistanis in Australia embarrassed by media reports

Syed Atiq ul Hassan


A peaceful and quite community of Pakistanis in Australia was left stunned when the story about an alleged mistreatment of a Pakistani by Pakistan High Commission spread in the Australian national and social media.
The ABC Television ran a story that the high commissioner allegedly exploited the employment contract of an employee by not providing the adequate facilities including the contracted salary. The story was then picked up by almost all national print media and went viral on social media.
Pakistan High Commissioners and other officials denied the allegation but ABC program claimed that the victim was a 32 years old, Shahid Mehmood, a former) employee of Pakistani Embassy in Canberra.
A Pakistani official in Islamabad claimed that it could be a case for better life and political refuge in Australia.
During his ABC interview, Shahid Mehmood alleged that revealed that he was given an accommodation which was like a cell in the basement of the luxurious the house of Pakistani High Commissioner. Shahid claimed that he had to spend 18 months like a prisoner but finally managed to flee from the house and reported the an NGO, Legal Aid. With tears in his eyes, Shahid claimed in a TV interview that sometimes he was so tired that he used to sleep while having dinner.
Shahid also claimed that as per his employment contract he was supposed to be paid $500 per month but his employer gave $100 after few months. He said the only money he received from High Commissioner Naela Chohan was $5 on Eid ul Fitr occasion as a good gesture.
Welfare organization ‘Salvation Army’ also helped him in providing him shelter and necessities then Shahid was granted permanent residency by the Australian Government in September 2017. Later the Australian Attorney-General also issued him a certificate confirming that Shahid made contribution and cooperated closely during his investigation.
Mr. David Hillard who worked on Shahid’s case as his lawyer told reporters that , “It’s incredible to think that in the heart of Australia, that these sorts of 19th-century practices are taking place,”; taunting on Pakistani culture he said that this would have been happening in Pakistan, but it should not happen in Australia.
When ABC, SBS Radio and other prominent Australian media contacted Naela Chohan for her comments on Shahid’s story she was not available to speak, on the other hand she clarified here position through Pakistani social media groups and local community papers defending herself by denying all allegations made by Shahid Mehmood and said that Shahid made all this story to get a permanent residency in Australia.
Pakistanis in Australia, by large, were shocked and expressed their dismay over the incident which has brought disgrace to Pakistan and its culture.

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