MEA intervenes in Pak consulate problem

New Delhi, Jan 4 | Updated: Jan 5 2006, 05:30am hrs
Islamabads difficulty in finding a suitable address for its consulate in Mumbai has been taken up by the ministry of external affairs with the Maharashtra government, the foreign office here said on Wednesday.

We are in touch with the government of Maharashtra to try and facilitate the process MEA spokesperson Navtej Sarna affirmed when asked questions on the inability of Pakistan to get rented accommodation in Mumbai, adding at the same time that no time-frame could be given on the matter.

Both India and Pakistan, as per the schedule decided in bilateral talks, had agreed to reopen consulates in Karachi and Mumbai on January 1. When asked about the delay in opening of the Indian consulate in Karachi, Mr Sarna said Our work is on its way to completion and we can open any time. But we cant do it till we are given clearance (by Pakistan government).

The Pakistani foreign ministry is facing a peculiar problem in Mumbai related to security. Co-occupants of Mittal chambers, the multi-storeyed complex where the new Pak consulate was to be housedhave raised objections on grounds of security. Islamabad has rented the sprawling office in Mumbais main business district after India turned down Islamabads long-standing demand to allow the use of Jinnah House, where Jinnah used to live.

In 1994, Pakistan had closed its consulate in Mumbai, after a city hotel refused to host Pakistan day celebrations. Islamabad called it the last straw, saying there was already a history of non-cooperation by Indian officials.