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India-Pakistan diplomatic ties head south: As officials allege harassment, 10 events leading to the fallout

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India-Pakistan diplomatic ties head south: Between two countries, some laws are followed assiduously even in the times of war. One of them include diplomatic norms. The bilateral relations between India and Pakistan hit rock bottom with the two sides accusing each other of harassing one another’s diplomats and their families. Days after Indian diplomats in Islamabad complained of ‘tremendous harassment for long’, now Pakistani diplomats in Delhi have accused the Indian side of the same. The relations have stooped to such lows that the two nations – India and Pakistan, have even threatened to pull out their diplomats from Islamabad and New Delhi, respectively.

On one hand, the Indian diplomats in Islamabad allege that the hostilities began with the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence not only raiding on a residential complex under construction for Indian diplomats on February 16 but also disconnecting its power and water supply. On the other, Pakistani diplomats in Delhi allege that they and their families are being followed by Indian security personnel. The Pakistani media claims that in one such incident of alleged harassment of the Pakistani diplomats in Delhi, a senior Pakistani official’s car was stopped in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri. The reports further claim that Indian security personnel roughed up the driver of the car with the diplomat’s child still inside the vehicle.

10 developments on how matters came to pass in India-Pakistan diplomatic ties:

1. Prior to the diplomatic tussle – The diplomatic fix is said to have started after India lashed out at Pakistan at the 37th session of the UN human rights council, where it accused Pakistan of protecting terrorists. The gunfight on the border had also escalated tensions between the two countries.

2. Allegations of the Indian side – Indian diplomats in Pakistan allege that India’s residential complex was not only illegally raided by Pakistani agencies, but power and water supply were also cut off for over two weeks.

3. Ajay Bisaria case: High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria alleges harassment by the Pakistani security agencies. Reportedly, Pakistani agencies had recently stopped Bisaria’s car in the middle of a busy road to prevent him from attending a lunch the Bohra community had hosted in Karachi. Bisaria was in Karachi to attend a literature festival.

4. Lewd phone calls and messages – The Indian diplomats accuse the Pakistani side of intruding their private space with aggressive surveillance. They further allege that the diplomats stationed in Islamabad have been receiving obscene phone calls and messages.

5. The Official word from Indian MEA – In a statement, the MEA said, “On 16 February, the High Commissioner of India met the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, to lodge a strong protest against multiple acts of hooliganism against Indian properties and personnel… Harassment is the new normal for Indian High Commission personnel in Islamabad.”

6. Allegations from the Pakistani side – The Pakistani diplomats have accused the Indian security personnel of following them. They further allege that even their wives and kids are being followed. 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.

7. The Official word from Pakistan – As per media reports, the Pakistani diplomats registered their complaint with the Indian MEA saying, “It is becoming difficult for the Pakistani diplomats posted in India to keep their families with them due to increase in harassment incidents.”

8. India’s assurance – Responding to Pakistani diplomats’ allegations, the MEA said in a statement, “The Pakistan High Commission has brought to the MEA’s [Ministry of External Affairs] notice some incidents of alleged harassment over the past 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,” as per media reports.

9. Diplomatic crisis overshadows amicable steps – The ongoing tussle 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.

10. India’s stance – The Indian side has asked the Pakistani side to regard the international law. India has said it has repeatedly requested Pakistan to mutually ensure an atmosphere free of fear. “We would like to continue the fine tradition of allowing diplomats to do their jobs,” said the MEA.

Source: Financial Express

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