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UK envoy in Pak affair

Islamabad/London, Aug. 17: The British government has removed one of its senior diplomats from its high commission in Islamabad for allegedly developing an “inappropriate relationship” with a Pakistani woman.

The incident has set off ripples across Pakistan.

A senior diplomat in the British high commission today confirmed the removal of the Islamabad-based military attach', Brigadier Andrew Durcan, 56, but gave no further details.

A defence ministry spokesman in London said: “We can confirm that Brig Durcan has been removed from the post following an internal investigation into his conduct. The ministry of defence decided to replace him after he lost the confidence of the high commission.”

Britain’s Sun newspaper said the military attach' had developed an “inappropriate relationship” with a suspected female Pakistani spy.

“Mr Durcan had been tricked into a close friendship by the attractive woman but there was no evidence classified information or British agents had been compromised,” said the paper.

It described the woman as a “defence academic” who was “also believed to be an undercover agent for Pakistan’s intelligence services”.

Sources in London said the behaviour of diplomats was not so strictly governed as in past decades but the rules on what was permissible depended partly on the country where they were serving.

A former Pakistani intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Hameed Gul, did not give much importance to Durcan’s relationship with the woman, saying it is nothing but “human frailty”.

It’s a “human frailty” the British are familiar with. In 1963, the entire Conservative administration of Harold Macmillan had its reputation besmirched by the relationship secretary of state for war John Profumo had with model and showgirl Christine Keeler.

Profumo did not know she was also sleeping with Russian naval attache Yevgeny Ivanov. It was at the height of the Cold War.

Apparently, she also had an affair with a Pakistani leader.

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