The Sexual Harassment Case of drunk German Consulate in Karachi – witnesses speak up and provide proof for investigation
According to media reports, a German diplomat, Holger Ziegeler, has been accused of sexually harassing attendees and groping a woman at an event in Karachi. The event took place on the 13th of November last year and was co-funded by the German Consulate. The events surrounding the assault were kept concealed for several months until the main organizer of the event, Urvah Khan, recently decided to speak up.
Here are some glimpses of the event:
Urvah Khan’s Account of the Sexual Assault
Urvah Khan took to Instagram to share a detailed account of what happened at the event. She said:
At the 2nd ScrapFest Pakistan event on the 13th of November, 2021, at a privately hired venue, a woman attending was sexually harassed by one of the senior staff members from the German Consulate in Karachi. Since my last post on this incident, the German Federal Foreign Office’s unit responsible for investigating all allegations of sexual misconduct has directly contacted me. I have provided them with the video and text evidence I mentioned that was in my possession.
Speaking about the harassment incident, Urvah Khan said:
A woman came by the stage, and Holger Ziegeler groped her buttocks, then grabbed her hand. Apart from the groped victim, Holger’s behavior throughout the night was unacceptable and disrespectful towards many attendees. Many of them came forward as witnesses about how uncomfortable they felt. In terms of other attendees, he would try to go closer to them. A few witnesses said that they saw him trying to touch women on their body parts, on their stomachs, and their backs. Another witness said that he was standing before him while he kept touching his friend’s back. She kept putting his hand back to where it was supposed to be.
The Event Host’s Account of the Sexual Assault
Speaking to a media outlet, Dr. Mehrub Moiz Awan said:
I was hosting this event for a fee as requested by Urvah, and many of my fans came specially for me. The white man was visibly drunk or at least tipsy and interrupted me a few times during my jokes as well. I had especially made a point to crack jokes at white people and white privilege, and our own audience loved them. He tried to be a little handsy with me, but as a Pakistani transwoman, I know how to handle such guys very well. Later I found out that a female left very upset because the same guy groped her. The dude actually sent Urvah a text that I saw with my own eyes. It said something like, “Who’s this girl? She’s good. I want her number.”
Urvah Khan shares Details of the Investigation
Speaking to a media outlet, Urvah Khan said:
I organized the event ScrapFest, which promotes women and people from the LGBT community. The second event was co-funded by the German Consulate, and Holger Ziegeler was the German Consulate General in Karachi. The event took place on the 13th of November, 2021, and I officially issued a statement on the 22nd of April, 2022. Three days after issuing a statement, I contacted the German Foreign Office. It took a bit of time to make the statement because I needed time to speak to a victim and to convince the witnesses to come forward. We had a text message. After we found the video evidence and had collected the statements of the victims, I knew we had everything we needed.
Regarding the status of the investigation, she said:
The German Foreign Office in Berlin is investigating the matter. They are interviewing the witnesses and the victim. We are waiting to find out what is going to happen. The woman who Holger Ziegeler groped reached out to me with the allegations the same night and recorded her statement the next morning. I brought it up with Holger. At first, he was willing to apologize. The victim asked for a written apology as she was traumatized and did not want to see his face. He later retracted his apology and said that he did not harass her and this was a terrorist attack on his legacy. He also pressured me to get rid of the evidence. When the German Consulate in Karachi was informed, they messaged me to take my Instagram posts down. They did not support me or try to investigate, which is one of the reasons I reached out to the German Foreign Office in Berlin.
Why speak to an international publication?
Urvah Khan stated her case to an international publication, VICE, instead of contacting local media. When asked why she explained:
Because he is a foreign diplomat, he had diplomatic immunity, so I was worried about PEMRA coming after an article or news item like this and shutting it down. I wanted the first article to be published in an international publication, so PEMRA could not touch it. The big issue is that he thought because he co-funded the event through the German Consulate, he could behave in this manner and could get away with it. I think it’s important we all talk about what he did; it’s important to have a conversation.
Several local and international media channels are now talking about the incident. However, any progress in the investigation is yet to happen. Only time will tell how this case of sexual harassment is concluded – justice or no justice.
What are your thoughts on this? Please share with us in the comment section below.