Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Our diplomats in Pakistan facing tremendous harassment

Our diplomats in Pakistan facing tremendous harassment

The Pakistan High Commission here has lodged complaints of harassment with the External Affairs Ministry, which has assured them of an investigation, official sources said today and alleged that several Indian mission staffers in Islamabad have been severely "harassed and intimidated".

"We would like to continue the fine tradition of allowing diplomats to do their jobs", the source said.

According to sources, the Indian High Commissioner lodged a strong protest on February 16, when he met Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, against "multiple acts of hooliganism" against Indian property and personnel.

Hours before, a Pakistani source told The Hindu that nearly all the top diplomats, barring the newly appointed High Commissioner of Pakistan, had faced aggressive surveillance from Indian agencies in the recent weeks. Pakistani agencies even cut off the electricity and the water supply in an Indian residential complex, only to be restored after two weeks.

Pakistan's interior ministry is yet to issue the no-objection certificate required for the membership given to Indian diplomats.

India will investigate Pakistan's allegation of harassment of its diplomats here, sources said on Sunday.

"It is becoming hard for the Pakistani diplomats posted in India to keep their families with them due to an increase in harassment incidents", the source said.

While Pakistan has issued a demarche to India saying it was becoming hard for its diplomats to function in Delhi, sources here said the present round of hostility was initiated by an ISI raid on a residential complex under construction for Indian diplomats in Islamabad. An official's home was broken into, laptop stolen. "The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has been facing tremendous harassment for long, particularly in the previous year", the source.

Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and risky proximity was a perennial issue. Agency personnel keep shooting videos of the officers thrusting phones on their faces. "Obscene phone calls and messages are constantly received on phones", the sources said.

Pakistan has officially conveyed their reservations on the matter to the Indian authorities, saying that performing their duties in New Delhi will become very hard under the current circumstances.

These charges come in the light of the two countries re-igniting talks with the initiation of humanitarian gestures. Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj travelled to Pakistan in December 2015 for a regional conference on Afghanistan and Modi visited Lahore in December 2015 on his way back from a trip to Russian Federation.

But a series of attacks on military facilities in India in 2016 put paid to the efforts to resume peace talks.

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