Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

India, Pakistan accuse each other of diplomats' harassment, intimidation

India, Pakistan accuse each other of diplomats' harassment, intimidation

A day after Islamabad accused New Delhi of harassing its diplomats and their families in India and threatened to pull them out if the intimidation did not stop, officials told The Times of India that the hostilities began with the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence's raid on a residential complex under construction for Indian diplomats in Islamabad on February 16.

A number of other diplomatic vehicles have also been stopped and searched, Dawn reported. Indian diplomats and their family have faced regular harassment in Pakistan recently with unauthorised entry into their premises, random interception of their cars and even robbery.

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".

In another incident, children of Pakistan's deputy high commissioner were stopped while going to school and their driver was harassed, said the sources, adding that two recent accidents involving vehicles of the high commission were also being considered as "deliberate acts".

"These will no doubt be investigated".

Sources said the Pakistani diplomats, their children and families were finding it hard to stay in New Delhi due to the intimidating behaviour of the Indian authorities.

"Harassment is the new normal for Indian high commission personnel in Islamabad", said a source here.

The report also said that the families of these officials chose to take their children out from the schools in Islamabad and leave the country. "The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has been facing tremendous harassment for long, particularly in the past year", the source said. However, the power supply was reportedly not restored for over two weeks.

Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and risky proximity has been a perennial problem, the first person cited above said.

"Agency personnel keep shooting videos of officers, thrusting phones into their faces". In one case, an official's home was broken into and laptop stolen, sources said. Indian diplomats continue to reside in different parts of Islamabad, compromising their security and safety, said sources. "Obscene phone calls and messages are constantly received on phones", the person said.

Pakistan has officially conveyed their reservations on the matter to the Indian authorities, saying that performing their duties in New Delhi will become very hard under the current circumstances.

Asif Ali Zardari has strongly condemned harassment of Pakistani diplomats in India and declared it a serious violation of diplomatic norms.

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