Pakistan calls home its Indian envoy to discuss alleged harassment of diplomatic staff
Islamabad has alleged that Indian intelligence agencies were intimidating its staffers.
India and Pakistan traded allegations of harassment of their diplomatic staff at their respective High Commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi on Thursday.
Pakistan summoned Sohail Mahmood, its high commissioner in India, on Thursday to consult on the alleged incidents of harassment of Pakistani diplomatic staff in New Delhi, PTI reported. It is not clear how long Mahmood will be in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar requested Pakistan’s intervention in a matter involving the Indian High Commissioner. “We will not give details of the issue which we have taken up with the Pakistani government,” ANI quoted Kumar as saying. “This is something which should be taken up through established diplomatic channels and not published in the media. We expect them [Pakistan] to look into and resolve those matters.”
Kumar said India wants its High Commission in Islamabad to function smoothly and that its officials not be harassed. “We want the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations, 1961, to be abided by,” Kumar said.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said the Indian government had failed to take notice of the incidents where Pakistani diplomats, their families and staffers were being intimidated. Islamabad alleged that the harassment was meted out by Indian intelligence agencies, PTI reported. “Our High Commissioner in New Delhi has been asked to come to Islamabad for consultations,” he said.
On Wedneday, Mahmood called for a re-think in the countries’ diplomatic approaches, The Indian Express reported. He said the current approach was working against diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions.
“Through painstaking efforts over the past several months, we twice managed to ease tensions somewhat and began making progress on some of the tracks, including on humanitarian issues,” Mahmood told the newspaper.
On March 13, the Pakistan High Commission had circulated a video showing a slow-moving car blocking one of its diplomat’s vehicles in the national Capital. The High Commission claimed that Indian security services were behind the incident and that a man took the diplomat’s photographs.
Among several allegations, the Indian authorities have claimed that Indian High Commissioner JP Singh’s doorbell was rung at 3 am in Islamabad, The Indian Express reported. A few days later, the doorbell of Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah’s doorbell in Delhi was also purportedly rung at 3 am.
The Pakistan High Commission wrote four diplomatic notes to the Ministry of External Affairs last week, mentioning 18 alleged incidents of harassment of diplomats, their family members and Indian workers in the diplomatic mission. Islamabad also issued a démarche to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.
Indian officials have claimed that the hostilities began when the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence raided a residential complex being built for Indian diplomats in Islamabad on February 16. The Pakistani agency reportedly disconnected the power and water supply at the complex. The connection was not restored for two weeks. Pakistani agencies also reportedly stopped Indian High Commission Ajay Bisaria’s car in the middle of a busy road to prevent him from attending an event in Karachi.