Pakistan calls back envoy from India over ‘harassment incidents’

Islamabad, March 15: Pakistan has called back its High Commissioner in New Delhi, Sohail Mahmood, for consultation over “harassment” of its diplomatic staff and their families in the Indian capital, the Foreign Office announced on Thursday.

Speaking at his weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said they will hold consultations with the High Commissioner over “recent incidents of harassing of their diplomats”.

Faisal alleged that diplomats of the Pakistani High Commission had been “harassed and intimidated” and that “vehicles transporting their children to schools had been stopped, the gas supply to the embassy had been cut and the staff had been threatened in recent weeks in New Delhi”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that its Deputy High Commissioner’s car was chased and his driver was abused by a group of men in the Indian capital last week.

“The total apathy and failure of the Indian government to put a halt to these despicable incidents, sparing not even young children, indicates both a lack of capacity to protect foreign diplomats posted in India or a more reprehensible, complicit unwillingness to do so,” Faisal said.

He claimed that the Indian government had not taken measures to safeguard Pakistani diplomats and their families in India, adding that Islamabad had lodged repeated protests over the matter with the Indian High Commission in Pakistan as well as India’s External Affairs Ministry along with photos of individuals accused of harassing its diplomats.

“Under the Vienna Convention, the safety and the security of Pakistani diplomats and their families is the responsibility of the Indian government,” said Faisal.

Responding to complaints by Islamabad, New Delhi assured last week that “India makes all efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for diplomats to work in”.

It added the Indian officials had also faced “harassment” last year in Pakistan but they chose to deal with it through “quiet and persistent diplomacy”.

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