- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Misdemeanor assault charges against Pakistan's U.N. ambassador, who had been accused of battering a woman, have been dropped, Pakistani diplomats said yesterday.
The district attorney's office in New York informed attorneys for the ambassador, Munir Akram, on Friday that the case will not be pursued, officials at Pakistan's U.N. mission said.
Last month, the State Department had asked the Pakistani mission to withdraw Mr. Akram's diplomatic immunity so that he could be tried for assault.
New York City prosecutors wanted to investigate Mr. Akram on assault charges made in a telephone call in early January by a female friend, Marijana Mihic, 35, who has since recanted her story.
Miss Mihic said Mr. Akram had smashed her head into a wall, according to a police dispatcher's notes.
No one was available at the district attorney's office for comments yesterday. Earlier, a spokeswoman had told UPI the case was "under review," and acknowledged that talks between the lawyers and the district attorney's office were ongoing.
Mr. Akram yesterday also confirmed that the charges had been withdrawn.
"As a result of an unfortunate misunderstanding, I had to endure an excruciating period of personal anguish and public embarrassment. I am grateful to God and to the prayers and support of my friends and family that this matter has been settled on the basis of facts and principle of fairness," he said.
Mr. Akram said he looked forward to serving the national interests of Pakistan at the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council as it deals with vital issues of concern to the international community and Pakistan.
News reports on the charge had fueled calls by religious extremists and women's groups in Pakistan for Mr. Akram's resignation.
The Women's Action Forum, an umbrella organization representing dozens of women's groups, said an envoy accused of battering a woman should not be allowed to continue.
Religious groups said that an envoy who has been involved with a woman to whom he is not married cannot represent a Muslim nation.

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