Published On: Thu, Mar 15th, 2018

Pakistan calls back envoy from India to discuss over ‘harassment incidents’

Islamabad: Pakistan has called back its High Commissioner in New Delhi, Sohail Mahmood, for consultation to Islamabad over alleged incidents of “harassing” of its Embassy’s staff in the Indian capital, the Foreign Office stated on Thursday.

Its “staff and their families had been facing harassment, intimidation and outright violence from Indian state agencies

Speaking at his weekly press briefing, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said they will hold consultations with the High Commissioner over “recent incidents of harassing of their diplomats”.

Faisal claimed that the Indian government had not taken measures to safeguard Pakistani diplomats and their families in India, adding that the Pakistani government lodged protests over the matter with the Indian deputy High Commissioner as well as India’s External Affairs Ministry.

The Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said its “staff and their families had been facing harassment, intimidation and outright violence from Indian state agencies in recent weeks in New Delhi”.

It claimed that its Deputy High Commissioner’s car was chased and his driver was abused by a group of men in the Indian capital last week.

While Pakistan on Tuesday issued a demarche to India saying it was becoming difficult for its diplomats to function in Delhi, sources here said the present round of hostility was initiated by an ISI raid on a residential complex under construction for Indian diplomats in Islamabad. The ISI is Pakistan’s spy agency.

Responding to complaints by Islamabad, New Delhi assured last week that “India makes all efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for diplomats to work in”. It added the Indian officials had also faced “harassment” last year in Pakistan but they chose to deal with it through “quiet and persistent diplomacy”.

A group of 7-8 men raided the residential complex last month and disconnected the electricity and water supply to the property which is owned by India. Indian high commissioner in Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, met the Pakistan foreign secretary on February 16 to strongly protest such “multiple acts of hooliganism” against Indian staff and property.

Despite the protest by Bisaria, the power supply wasn’t restored for over two weeks. Bisaria himself had his car intercepted recently in the middle of the road as he was prevented from attending an event, sources here said.

Official sources in New Delhi didn’t confirm a report in Pakistani media that Islamabad had threatened to pull out family members of their diplomats but said India will investigate the allegations. They said that Indian diplomats and their family members were regularly harassed in the recent past by Pakistani authorities.

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