Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Pakistan low: Diplomats and families facing 'intimidation'

Pakistan low: Diplomats and families facing 'intimidation'

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". On March 8, two cars allegedly followed the vehicle carrying the children of Pakistan's deputy high commissioner.

"On the way both cars continuously obstructed, harassed and stopped the driver and this continued for nearly 20 minutes".

"Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and unsafe proximity is a perennial issue".

Pakistani MoFA sources also said the Pakistani high commissioner in New Delhi had met officials of India's ministry of external affairs (MEA) in New Delhi and raised the matter, adding that in one incident on Thursday, the children of Pakistan's deputy high commissioner were going to school in a auto when it was "chased by a motorcycle and another vehicle" after which unidentified men took the driver off and hurled abuses. They said that they would ensure a safe working environment for all its diplomats. It is learnt that Pakistan put Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria and other Indian diplomats' application seeking membership of the Islamabad Club on hold to seek reciprocity for its diplomats in the Delhi Golf Club and Delhi Gymkhana. This has forced most families to return to India.

Sources also alleged that the High Commissioner's vehicle was recently stopped by Pak agencies in the middle of a busy road to prevent him from attending an event. Despite the Foreign Secretary's assurance, the power supply was not restored for over two weeks. Agency personnel in Pakistan keep shooting videos of the officers, thrusting phones on their faces. "We would like to continue the fine tradition of allowing diplomats to do their jobs", sources added.

Nonetheless, the officials in the report said that the Indian officials have always done their best to resolve these issues through diplomatic channels and not through the media. It is also said in the report published that India will investigate the allegations. Obscene phone calls and messages are constantly received on phones.

Sources also said that such incidents had "greatly subsided" on both sides after 2001-2002 but happen as "tit-for-tat actions" in both national capitals.

In July 2016, the Indian High Commission in Pakistan was declared a "non-family posting" and families of diplomats were moved out of Islamabad. The Pakistani agency reportedly disconnected power and water supply. "That has been the case for last decade or so, and it should be maintained".

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