India-Pakistan Diplomatic Crisis: The bilateral relations between India and Pakistan stooped to a new low after the two sides traded charges of harassing diplomats against each other. In the latest development on the issue, Islamabad, today, called back its High Commissioner to India
India-Pakistan Diplomatic Crisis: The bilateral relations between India and Pakistan stooped to a new low after the two sides traded charges of harassing diplomats against each other. In the latest development on the issue, Islamabad, today, called back its High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood for consultations after alleged incidents of harassment of its diplomatic staff in New Delhi. Pakistani media reports claimed that the envoy has been called back home for an unspecified time.
It has been over a week since the two sides have been at loggerheads over the issue of harassment of diplomats. While Islamabad complained that its diplomats were being subjected to different kinds of harassment in India, New Delhi, on the other hand, alleged that several Indian mission staffers in Islamabad have been severely “harassed and intimidated”.
India-Pakistan Diplomatic Crisis: Here is what happened so far:-
1. Prior to the diplomatic tussle – The diplomatic fix is said to have started after India lashed out at Pakistan at the 37th session of the UN human rights council, where it accused Pakistan of protecting terrorists. The gunfight on the border had also escalated tensions between the two countries.
2. Pakistan’s complain – On March 11, Pakistan lodged four harassment charges with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), alleging incidents of harassment and intimidation of its diplomats in New Delhi. Pakistan High Commission alleged that their diplomats and the families of the diplomats are being followed by New Delhi.
3. India’s counter – India reciprocated with a counter charge saying the Indian residential complex in Islamabad, which is currently under construction, was allegedly raided by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. “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 complaint added.
4. Ajay Bisaria case – High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria alleged harassment by the Pakistani security agencies. Reportedly, Pakistani agencies had recently stopped Bisaria’s car in the middle of a busy road to prevent him from attending a lunch the Bohra community had hosted in Karachi. Bisaria was in Karachi to attend a literature festival.
5. Lewd phone calls and messages – The Indian diplomats accuse the Pakistani side of intruding their private space with aggressive surveillance. They further allege that the diplomats stationed in Islamabad have been receiving obscene phone calls and messages.
6. Pakistan’s envoy car followed – On March 8, Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner’s cars were followed during the wee hours while his children were being dropped off to British School in New Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, reported The Indian Express. The commissioner was not inside the car.
7. Pakistan summons Indian envoy – Yesterday, Pakistan had summoned India’s Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh over the alleged harassment of officials and families of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and said such “despicable incidents” indicate “complicit unwillingness” of the Indian government to protect foreign diplomats.
8. Pakistan calls back envoy – Islamabad, today, called back its High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood for consultations after alleged incidents of harassment of its diplomatic staff in New Delhi. Pakistani media reports claimed that the envoy has been called back home for an unspecified time. The move by the Pakistani government comes after Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal alleged that the Indian government has not taken measures to safeguard Pakistani diplomats and their families in India.
9. India Downplays – Raveesh Kumar, Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, India, in a press conference today said, “We take note of their concerns. We are looking into these issues.” However, reacting to the development, the Indian government has said that calling back envoys for consultations is a routine process and there is nothing unusual in this.
10. Diplomatic crisis overshadows amicable steps – The ongoing tussle between the diplomats serving in both the countries came merely days after Pakistan agreed to the Indian proposal to exchange elderly, women and mentally unstable prisoners.