Oct 02, 2018

Ministry secretary caught stealing visiting delegate's wallet (Video)

A senior Pakistani civil servant is under investigation after reportedly being filmed stealing a visiting Kuwaiti delegate's wallet at an official function.

However, photographs said to be of the suspect, Zarar Haider Khan, published in mainstream and social media show a completely innocent individual who resides in the United States.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Mr Haider is the joint secretary of the Ministry of Industries and Production in Pakistan, and that an investigation is being launched into the theft from the Kuwaiti diplomat.

An official document was subsequently published for inclusion in Pakistan's Official Gazette, noting Mr Haider's suspension. Mr Haider is a grade BS-20 official, one of the higher ranks in Pakistan's civil service, and the incident has opened the government to "severe embarrassment", Islamabad newspaper The News says.

The six-second clip of close-circuit television footage shows the suspect pocketing the wallet which had been left on a table at the Economic Affairs Division, Dawn newspaper reports.

Mistaken identity

Unsurprisingly, the footage went viral on South Asian social media after it appeared on television news broadcasts, with Pakistani Twitter users expressing their shame over the theft from visiting dignitaries.

Indian social media users noted the theft with no little glee, with several saying "This is what small officials of a small country do when they see big people's wallet".

However, a photograph accompanying media reports - on television and on social media - was not of Zarar Haider Khan, but of Ziad Haider, a US-based risk analyst who has worked for the State Department in Washington DC. He is also a White House fellow and a Senior Associate at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Pakistan Today reports.

Online news portal Daily Pakistan said that photographs of the wrong Mr Haider were posted on the internet "with insulting remarks and comments".

Asked on Twitter if he was aware that he was trending in Pakistan, the entirely innocent Ziad Haider replied with thanks, saying: "My name is Ziad - not Zarar - Haider and, as other publications in Pakistan have already noted, this is indeed fake news".

(BBC News)