New Delhi, Mar 12: India and Pakistan are caught in a diplomatic tussle over ‘harassment’ of their envoys. Diplomatic ties took a hit when Pakistan’s ISI a residential complex under construction for Indian diplomats in Islamabad last month. On the other hand, Pakistan issued a demarche to India saying it was becoming difficult for its diplomats to function in Delhi.
The residential complex, owned by India, was raided and electricity and water supply to the property were suspended. On February 16, Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria met the Pakistan foreign secretary to strongly protest such “multiple acts of hooliganism” against Indian staff and property. The power supply wasn’t restored for over two weeks despite Bisaria’s protest.
“Harassment is the new normal for Indian high commission personnel in Islamabad,” a source was quoted as saying. Even Bisaria’s car was stopped in the middle of the road recently as he was prevented from attending an event. Not only Indian diplomat but their family members were as well regularly harassed in the recent past by Pakistani authorities, reported Times of India.
According to a report in Pakistani media, Islamabad issued a demarche to India and made counter allegations. Pakistan said the children of its deputy high commissioner were harassed by Indian authorities while they were on their way to school. Another Pakistani diplomat reportedly alleged that his car was intercepted and searched while on his way home. Sources earlier said Pakistani envoys are treated in a much better way than their Indian counterparts in Islamabad.
The present round of hostility began when Pakistan put Ajay Bisaria and other Indian diplomat’s application seeking membership of the prestigious Islamabad Club on hold. Islamabad Club is a circle of Pakistani elite and foreign diplomats and it’s customary for an ambassador or high commissioner to seek membership after landing in Pakistan’s capital. Pakistan’s interior ministry is yet to issue the no-objection certificate required for the membership given to Indian diplomats.
The diplomatic spat is a threat to an attempt by both India and Pakistan to revive ties by first addressing humanitarian issues like release of prisoners. The two countries, Last week, agreed to the release and repatriation of prisoners over 70 years of age and also women prisoners.