Our diplomats in Pakistan facing tremendous harassment: India
NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN) - India on Sunday said it would investigate Pakistan’s charge that its diplomats posted in New Delhi were facing harassment even as it levelled serious allegations against Islamabad for harassing Indian diplomats posted at the High Commission in Pakistan.
“The Pakistan High Commission has brought to MEA’s notice some incidents of alleged harassment over the last few days. These will no doubt be investigated. India makes all efforts to provide a safe, secure and hospitable environment for diplomats to work in,’’ government sources said.
They regretted that this, however, could not be said of Islamabad. The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has been facing tremendous harassment for long, particularly in the last year. But Indian diplomats chose to tackle this matter with quiet and persistent diplomacy rather than by airing issues in the media, sources added.
Giving an instance, sources said that on 16 February, High Commissioner of India Ajay Bisaria met Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua to lodge a strong protest against multiple acts of hooliganism against Indian properties and personnel.
India’s residential complex in Islamabad was raided by Pakistani agencies which expelled all Pakistani service providers and later disconnected power and water supply. Despite the Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s assurance, the power supply was not restored for over two weeks. “The Pakistan High Commission faces no such disruptions,’’ they pointed out.
Over the last few months, several Indian High Commission staffers have been severely harassed and intimidated. In one case, an official’s home was broken into and laptop stolen, sources said.
“Harassment is the new normal for Indian High Commission personnel in Islamabad. The High Commissioner’s car was recently stopped by Pakistani agencies in the middle of a busy road to prevent him from attending an event,’’ they noted.
Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and dangerous proximity was a perennial issue. Agency personnel in Pakistan keep shooting videos of the officers, thrusting phones on their faces. Obscene phone calls and messages were constantly received on phones, sources said.
In view of such an atmosphere of intimidation, most families have returned to India and children have been withdrawn from schools.
India has repeatedly requested Pakistan to mutually ensure that High Commissions were allowed to do their job in an atmosphere free of harassment and intimidation, that staff were allowed to work and that construction projects were completed on time. “We would like to continue the fine tradition of allowing diplomats to do their jobs,” sources added.
- Our diplomats in Pakistan facing tremendous harassment: India