Fury at UK Government refusal to assist in Paul McBride tragedy

266
2850

By a Newsnet reporter

First Minister Alex Salmond has expressed his disappointment after UK Foreign Secretary William Hague refused to offer assistance in the aftermath of the tragic death of leading Scottish QC Paul McBride in Pakistan.

Speaking to STV news, Mr Salmond revealed that he had asked the UK Minister to help by contacting the UK High Commission to send someone to assist Mr McBride’s colleague Aamer Anwar in repatriating Mr McBride’s body back to Scotland.

“I asked specifically the Foreign Secretary if he would instruct the High Commission to send somebody from Lahore to Islamabad to help with this process.

“Clearly with the huge profile and attention, Aamer Anwar is under a great deal of pressure.

“Unfortunately the foreign Secretary couldn’t agree to that and I think that’s very disappointing.” said Mr Salmond.

Mr Anwar himself has accused the British authorities of failing to provide any assistance in order to help him deal with the situation.

He said he, along with the Scottish Government and police, had been trying to get the High Commission to send someone to Lahore to help him bring Mr McBride’s body back to Scotland.

Speaking from Lahore, Mr Anwar, who has been dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy described the behaviour of the Commission as a “disgrace”.

“The fact that they say that they don’t have capacity or resources to send somebody on a two hour journey to Lahore is an absolute disgrace.” He said.

Mr Anwar, who described Mr McBride as a friend who had “saved his life” has remained in Pakistan to help bring his friend’s body home.

Mr Anwar was in Pakistan with Mr McBride on a business trip when his colleague tragically died.  Mr Anwar, himself a leading Human Rights lawyer, has complained that despite a plea for assistance, he has spoken to no-one from the Commission since the tragedy on Saturday.

The First Minister’s intervention came after Scottish Government Minister Fiona Hyslop contacted Mr Anwar offering assistance.

Mr Anwar said: “The Scottish Government, the First Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fiona Hyslop, Strathclyde Police and others have been trying their best to get the British High Commission to send someone to Lahore to help me bring Paul home.”

It is expected that Mr McBride’s body may be returned home by Friday.