New Delhi, Mar 15: Pakistan on Thursday called back its High Commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood to discuss alleged incidents of harassment of its diplomats by Indian authorities. However, the spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Raveesh Kumar, called the development a routine practice and said it was not a recall by Pakistan.Also Read - Tokyo 2020, Men's Hockey Semi-final India vs Belgium: Head to Head Record
“Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood has been called back from New Delhi by the Federal government,” Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Muhammad Faisal announced. “The FO will hold consultation related to harassment cases with Pakistani diplomats in India with the High Commissioner,” he added. Responding to the development, MEA spokesperson Kumar said, “I am surprised why this question is being raised. He has been called for consultation. This is pretty normal and routine. It is not a recall.” Also Read - Third Wave of Corona May Hit India This Month, Likely to Peak in October: Experts Who Predicted Second Wave
In his weekly press briefing, Muhammad Faisal alleged that the Indian government had failed to take notice of the increasing incidents of intimidation of Pakistani diplomats, their families and staffers by its intelligence agencies. “As Indian government did not take any steps to safeguard Pakistani diplomats and their families in India, the Pakistani government has also lodged protests over the matter with the Indian deputy high commissioner as well as India’s External Affairs Ministry,” stated the spokesperson. Also Read - India Assumes UNSC Presidency For August; Country to be Voice of Moderation, Says Jaishankar
Pakistan had, on Tuesday, summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh over the alleged harassment of its officials and their families in New Delhi. Muhammad Faisal said the Pakistan High Commission shared with the External Affairs Ministry photographs identifying the individuals who forcibly halted and took pictures of the officers but regrettably no positive action was taken by the Indian side. The statement also claimed that Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner’s car was chased and his driver was abused by a group of men in New Delhi 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. “Pakistan will go to any limit to ensure the safety of the staff of (its) high commission in India,” he added. He said India should not drag Pakistan in its electoral politics. Faisal said that Pakistan wanted peace in the region and was against an arms race.
India and Pakistan have been in a diplomatic tussle with both the countries accusing each other of harassing its envoys. The diplomatic tussle began over membership of Indian diplomats for the prestigious Islamabad Club. 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. However, Pakistan Interior Ministry has blocked the clearance for membership of Indian diplomats.