NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has called back its High Commissioner in Delhi, Sohail Mahmood, for a meeting after a string of ‘harassment’ incidents with the diplomats in the Indian capital, reports in the Indian media said.
Islamabad had also lodged a complaint with the Indian government regarding frequent harassment incidents with Pakistan’s diplomats in New Delhi.
In its reply last week, India said: “We make all efforts to provide a safe, secure and hospitable environment for diplomats to work in” but added that Indian officials had to face “tremendous harassment” in that country.
“Harassment is the new normal for Indian High Commission personnel in Islamabad,” claimed the Indian foreign ministry in a statement.
Pakistan had complained to the government that its officials and their families had been harassed in Delhi. Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner’s car was chased and his driver was abused by a group of men.
Over the past few days, video footage of such incidents has also appeared and ran by many TV channels in Pakistan.
In response, India claimed that its diplomats in Islamabad had faced harassment for long, “particularly in the last year” but rather than flag the cases in the media, Indian diplomats chose to tackle them with “quiet and persistent diplomacy”.
“On 16 February, the High Commissioner of India met the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, to lodge a strong protest against multiple acts of hooliganism against Indian properties and personnel,” the foreign ministry alleged.
It further claimed that the homes of Indian officials were broken into, the power supply snapped and often laptops were stolen.
“This is a moment for sober reflection on the state of the bilateral relationship. It is too important to be allowed to drift. There is a need to handle matters with wisdom and thoughtfulness,” Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood told The Hindu in response to a question about the latest incident in Delhi, which led to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry issuing a demarche to Indian Deputy High Commissioner J.P. Singh on Wednesday morning.
The protest, according to APP, came after Pakistan’s High Commission released a video taken by one of their embassy officials that appeared to show their diplomatic car being tailed by men on motorcycles while a car in front blocked their way.
The video shows men in South Delhi wearing helmets, riding the motorcycles very close to the Embassy vehicle, and also intimidating other drivers on the road who tried to intervene.
According to Pakistani diplomats, the incident occurred on Tuesday and was the 23rd such incident in the past two weeks.