NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood will be leaving for Islamabad shortly to brief the government on the alleged harassment of Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi.
New Delhi, however, described the summoning as a “routine consultation” that every nation indulged in and shrugged off speculation that Mahmood had been officially summoned.
Insisting that the Indian government was investigating the Pakistani diplomats’ allegations, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson noted that the Indian High Commission in Islamabad is facing a litany of issues that have not been resolved for several months.
“We raise these issues in good faith through diplomatic channels and not through the media,” the spokesperson said.
On Wednesday, a Pakistani foreign office statement detailed the instances of harassment and intimidation of its diplomatic staff, including family members and children in Delhi, particularly over the past few days.
“The officers, staff of the Pakistan High Commission, and more regrettably their families and children, continue to face intense harassment, intimidation and outright violence from the Indian state agencies. These have escalated exponentially in the last few days. This deliberate bullying is not confined to a single event, but continues unabated in a series of incidents,” the statement said.
Listing out five such instances, the statement said that “all these incidents continue unabated despite repeated official protests lodged with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs at the highest level, providing specific details of the culprit’s vehicles. Our High Commission has also shared photographs identifying the individuals, who forcibly halted and took pictures of the officer, today.
“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,” it said.
Admitting that both the sides indulged in ‘aggressive monitoring’ of each other’s diplomatic staff in Islamabad and New Delhi, a senior Pakistani source, however, said “the harassment of children is something unprecedented,” and “the Indian ministry of external affairs seems helpless to do anything about it.”
On March 7 and 8, cars carrying children of the Mission officers were stopped by unknown persons, who threatened and filmed them.
On March 9, the car of the Naval Adviser was chased. The same day, Counselor Political was forcibly evicted from a cab, threatened, abused and filmed by unknown men.
On March 12, technicians working at the Pakistan High Commission were stopped from work. The same day, the Mission’s First Secretary was chased when he left for home from work.
On March 15, a car carrying the Mission Counselor’s children from school was stopped. The children were filmed for over 40 minutes and followed up to their residence.
Additionally, the drivers of the High Commission were forcibly halted and their mobile phones forcibly switched off.