Pakistan calls home India envoy over harassment allegations

Sean Reid
March 19, 2018

Mehmood, who was summoned to Islamabad on Thursday, "will not return to India anytime soon", Pakistani media quoted foreign ministry officials as saying.

Official sources said that in the communication to the Pakistan foreign ministry, the Indian high commission specifically highlighted three cases of harassment, including one in which the second secretary at the mission was aggressively followed today by unidentified people in a auto in close proximity in an intimidating manner while he was going to a restaurant. In a 12th complaint, India alleged that some bike-borne men harassed an Indian diplomat and his family in Islamabad.

Yesterday, India gave Pakistan a note verbale through its high commission in Islamabad, specifically mentioning two incidents of harassment. India also asked Pakistan for a probe into the fresh incidents while asking for the results of the probe to be shared with it.

Pakistan has made a decision to stay away from the World Trade Organisation meet in New Delhi next week in protest against alleged harassment of its diplomats in India.

Indian officials said that the standoff was months old, when in May a year ago, Pakistani government "intermittently blocked Indian government websites in Pakistan" and "visa seekers faced trouble".

Sohail Mahmood, the Pakistani High Commissioner to India, had been called back two days ago for consultations following accusations and counter accusations that diplomats of both countries and their families were being harassed and intimidated.

Diplomatic sources said that "nobody will attend the WTO meeting" in Delhi from Islamabad. The official defended the move, asserting that current situations it was not possible for the high commissioner to operate out of New Delhi.

Indian diplomats and officials in Pakistan have been facing constant harassment at the hands of unknown people.

"This deliberate bullying is not confined to a single isolated event, but continues unabated in a series of incidents, especially targeting the children of our officers and staff", Pakistan said in a statement.

Dr Faisal denied New Delhi's allegation that similar incidents have occurred with Indian diplomats in Pakistan.

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