India, Pakistan accuse each other of harassing diplomatic staff

Diplomatic sources says official staffers and their children are experiencing 'intimidating behaviour'

An Indian source describing the condition that Indian diplomats in Pakistan are facing, said, "Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and unsafe proximity is a perennial issue".

Sources said that a similar demand was also made to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, with Pakistan threatening to pull out its families from New Delhi. On March 8, two cars allegedly followed the vehicle carrying the children of Pakistan's deputy high commissioner.

A number of other diplomatic vehicles have also been stopped and searched, Dawn reported. "Harassment is the new normal for Indian High Commission personnel in Islamabad", the Indian official alleged. They said that they would ensure a safe working environment for all its diplomats.

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. While Pakistan has now issued a demarche to India saying it was becoming hard for its diplomats to function in Delhi, sources in India have said the present round of hostility was initiated by an ISI raid on a residential complex under construction for Indian diplomats in Islamabad.

"ON February 16, the High Commissioner of India met Pakistan's Foreign Secretary to lodge a protest against multiple acts of hooliganism against Indian properties and personnel". Pakistani agencies even cut off the electricity and the water supply in an Indian residential complex, only to be restored after two weeks. "The Pakistan High Commission faces no such disruptions".

"More troublingly, over the last few months, several High Commission staff have been severely harassed and intimidated". The Pakistani media claims that in one such incident of alleged harassment of the Pakistani diplomats in Delhi, a senior Pakistani official's auto was stopped in Delhi's Chanakyapuri. Obscene phone calls and messages are constantly received on phones. "In view of such an atmosphere of intimidation, most families have returned to India and children have been withdrawn from schools", the source said.

"In the early 90s, the wife of our high commissioner in Islamabad, J N Dixit was assaulted when he was attending an official event there".

The fight between the diplomats serving in both the countries came merely days after Pakistan agreed to the Indian proposal to exchange elderly, women and mentally unstable prisoners. The Pakistani diplomats have claimed that in one such incident of harassment, a Pakistani diplomat's kid was stopped on his way to school and the driver was harassed by the Indian security agencies.

Indian High Commission official's home broken into, laptop stolen, High Commissioner's auto stopped by Pak agencies to prevent him from attending an event.



Other news