India, Pakistan accuse each other of diplomats' harassment, intimidation

12 March 2018, 09:33 AM
File Photo
File Photo

India and Pakistan are in the middle of serious diplomatic spat as both the sides are accusing each other of harrasing, even intimidating, diplomats.

A day after the Pakistan High Commission has complained of diplomats being harrased in India, India has also alleged that several Indian mission staffers in Islamabad have been severely “harassed and intimidated”.

While Pakistan has 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.

“India makes all efforts to provide a safe, secure and hospitable environment for diplomats to work in. Unfortunately, this cannot be said of Islamabad. The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has been facing tremendous harassment for long, particularly in the last year,” the source.

The sources further said that on February 16, the High Commissioner of India had met the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, to lodge a strong protest against multiple acts of hooliganism against Indian properties and personnel.

It is said that over 7-8 men raided the residential complex last month and disconnected water supply and electricity to the property owned by India. Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisra met the Pakistan foreign secretary on Feb 16 to protest such astc of hooliganism against Indian staff and property.

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

Pakistan’s interior ministry is yet to issue the no-objection certificate required for the membership given to Indian diplomats. “Harassment is the new normal for Indian high commission personnel in Islamabad,” said a source here.

“India’s residential complex in Islamabad was raided by Pakistan agencies who expelled all Pakistani service providers and later disconnected power and water supply. Despite the Foreign Secretary’s assurance, the power supply was not restored for over two weeks.

The Pakistan High Commission faces no such disruptions (in India),” the sources said.

“More troublingly, over the last few months, several High Commission staff have been severely harassed and intimidated. In one of the cases, one official’s home was broken into and a laptop was stolen,” they added.

Sharing another incident, the sources said that recently the High Commissioner was stopped by the Pakistani agencies in the middle of a busy road to prevent him from attending an event.

“Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and dangerous proximity is a perennial issue. Agency personnel keep shooting videos of the officers thrusting phones on their faces. Obscene phone calls and messages are constantly received on phones,” the sources said. “In view of such an atmosphere of intimidation, most families have returned to India and children have been withdrawn from schools.”

India has repeatedly requested Pakistan to mutually ensure that the High Commissions should be allowed to do their job in an atmosphere free of harassment and intimidation.

Sharing another incident, the sources said that recently the High Commissioner was stopped by the Pakistani agencies in the middle of a busy road to prevent him from attending an event.

“Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and dangerous proximity is a perennial issue. Agency personnel keep shooting videos of the officers thrusting phones on their faces. Obscene phone calls and messages are constantly received on phones,” the sources said. “In view of such an atmosphere of intimidation, most families have returned to India and children have been withdrawn from schools.”

India has repeatedly requested Pakistan to mutually ensure that the High Commissions should be allowed to do their job in an atmosphere free of harassment and intimidation.

With ANI Inputs.

First Published: Monday, March 12, 2018 09:22 AM
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