Zarrar Haider Khan, joint secretary of the Ministry of Industries and Production and a BS-20 officer of the state bureaucracy's elite Pakistan Administrative Service cadre, has been suspended from service on disciplinary grounds after he was caught stealing.
The disgraced officer had caused embarrassment to the country after being caught on closed-circuit TV (CCTV) camera stealing a foreign dignitary's wallet and pocketing it.
The dignitary was a member of the Kuwaiti delegation which was visiting the country to discuss investment plans in Pakistan.
Sources said the theft was caught on CCTV after members of the Kuwaiti delegation lodged a strong protest.
In the six-second leaked video clip, which also went viral on social media, the bureaucrat could be seen lifting the wallet from the table and putting it into his pocket at a time when the Kuwaiti delegates and officials of the ministry had left the hall of the Economic Affairs Division after their meeting.
The issue came to light when a member of the Kuwaiti delegation lodged a complaint with Pakistani officials regarding his missing wallet, which reportedly contained a significant sum of Kuwaiti dinars.
A search was conducted in the ministry and all rooms and offices were combed. Even lower grade employees of the ministry were quizzed and physically searched but nothing was initially found.
The footage captured by a CCTV camera installed in the hall was examined later, which revealed that the theft was committed by the senior officer.
When the officer was approached, he first denied his involvement. However, when the CCTV footage was shown to him, he produced the wallet, the sources stated.
When the Kuwaiti officials were informed of the recovery of his wallet, the delegation asked the authorities to provide them with the identification of the culprit.
The Pakistani officials initially showed reluctance and assured the guests that legal action would be taken against the person.
However, the sources said, it was on the insistence of the delegates — who were extremely angry over the incident — that Pakistani officials divulged the individual's identity and shared the CCTV footage.
So far, no complaint has been registered with police.
Sources in the ministry said that an internal inquiry was in progress against the bureaucrat and further action will be taken keeping in view its recommendations.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, when asked about the incident during a press briefing, said simply that most of the present bureaucrats had received their “moral training” by previous governments.