Pakistan claimed that there had been as many as 26 instances of harassments and intimidation of its diplomats since March 7. Islamabad on Thursday called back its high commissioner Sohail Mahmood for discussions on this serious issue.

It might sound like an acrimonious neighborhood dispute. But the neighbors, in this case, are the nuclear-armed geopolitical rivals India and Pakistan, who have fought three wars since the partition of India in 1947 and still trade fire across a border in disputed Kashmir.
The envoy going back to India for consultations on an issue which is important should be seen as a routine and internal matter of the neighboring country. Pakistan diplomats do not want to venture a guess on the return of Mahmood.

Incidents happened in Pakistan

Pakistan has accused India of intimidating the children of its diplomats and of stopping the supply of gas cylinders to Pakistan High Commission. Late on Thursday evening, Pakistan claimed that a senior diplomat and his two minor daughters were on their way to Yashwant Palace. They had their car intercepted by 4 unidentified bikers who also flashed torchlight at them.

A senior diplomat’s vehicle was stopped and damaged. According to the FO spokesperson, the harassment was not confined to a single isolated event, but continued unabated, especially targeting the children of embassy’s officers and staff.

Ringing the doorbell in the middle of the night and running away. Obscene phone calls. Cutting off power and water supplies. Car chases, aggressive confrontations, and children intimidated. Diplomats being tailed by security services and confrontations with unknown assailants who film the encounters. According to official sources in India, all such allegations will be investigated. They even added that Indian diplomats were facing a far worse situation in Islamabad.

Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal views regarding the same.

He said that the federal government had directed Pakistani high commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood. He will return to Islamabad for a consultation over the recent incidents of harassment of the embassy’s staff.

“India has failed to take adequate steps to ensure the safety of Pakistani diplomats and their families in India, despite complaints and protests with the Indian deputy high commissioner and India’s External Affairs Ministry India”.

Statement given by India:

India, however, said it did not want to get into a public spat with Pakistan over issues. It is concerned about the safety and security of its diplomats for which it had raised concerns diplomatically with them.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also shared his views

He said that as we know, our High Commission is facing a litany of issues which have not been resolved for several months.

These issues are raised in good faith through diplomatic channels and not through the media. He had asked for an immediate resolution of these issues faced by the high commission in Islamabad.

This should be done to ensure the safety and security of the diplomatic mission and its diplomatic and consular officials. We would like our mission to function normally, without any obstruction or harassment, in keeping with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.

According to Pakistan diplomats

India authorities are trying to intimidate them to force Pakistan’s hand mainly over disputes related to the construction of an Indian residential complex in Islamabad.

It is also because of Pakistan’s unprecedented decision to block membership of Islamabad Club for Indian diplomats.

The Pakistan spokesperson said that photographs identifying individuals involved in harassment had been submitted to the Indian External Affairs Ministry. However, no action has been taken by India yet. Such incidents were aired on Pakistani TV stations for the past few days.

Pakistan had lodged a protest on Tuesday to the Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh. The series of incidents claimed by Pakistan started last week on Wednesday.

Separately, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said on Thursday that Islamabad was not expecting improvement in relations with New Delhi “due to the constant ceasefire violations by it”.

However there have been minor eases in tensions too, with Pakistan announcement earlier this month.

It had approved an Indian proposal to facilitate an exchange of female civilian prisoners, as well as prisoners who were mentally challenged, had special needs, or were above 70 years of age.

Both India and Pakistan regularly haul in their rival’s senior diplomats to complain about a host of issues and sometimes expel high commission staff on accusations that they’re spies.

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