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Pak envoy returns amid row over harassment of diplomats

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Pak envoy returns amid row over harassment of diplomats

New Delhi: Pakistan envoy Sohail Mahmood returned to India on Thursday night, over a week after he was recalled to Islamabad amid escalating tensions between the two countries over alleged incidents of harassment of Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi.

At the time when Mahmood was summoned back, the Pakistani media had quoted officials of the foreign ministry as saying, “Indian secret agencies must stop harassing Pakistani diplomatic staff and their families” and that Mahmood “will not return to India anytime soon”.

A total of 26 incidents of alleged harassment were reported by Pakistani envoys in Delhi in eight days, including two allegations of their children being approached in school

There were alleged incidents of the tit-for-tat ringing of doorbells of the deputy high commissioners of both the countries past midnight. In another claim, a Pakistani diplomat had alleged that his car was blocked by a slow-moving car in New Delhi.

Several complaints of harassment of Indian diplomats in Pakistani capital were detailed in the diplomatic correspondence known as note verbale. Four note verbale to the Ministry of External Affairs alleging specific incidents of harassment of diplomats, their family members and Indian workers in the High Commission have been mentioned.

Pakistan had recently pulled out of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting which was held in New Delhi on 19 and 20 March. The Commerce Minister Pervez Malik had accepted the invitation but later did not show up for the event.

India on Thursday issued yet another Note Verbale saying that several Indian officials were subjected to “harassment and intimidation” in Islamabad. According to sources, the website of the High Commission of India continues to be “intermittently blocked” in Islamabad. “This is causing inconvenience and has affected the normal functioning of the Mission,” the source said.

Among a few instances, sources said the vehicle of the Indian Deputy High Commissioner while going to an Embassy within the Diplomatic Enclave for a meeting was “aggressively” tailed by two people in a car. The Naval Attache of the Mission was also aggressively followed by a person on a motorbike while going to Serena Hotel for a meeting.

Meanwhile, on the occasion of its National Day, Pakistan on Friday said it is sincere about fulfilling the aspirations of Mohammed Ali Jinnah in turning the country into an “economically strong democratic Islamic country” and sought “good and peaceful relations” with India.

Talking to reporters here, Pakistan High Commissioner Mr Mahmood said  Pakistan wants to maintain a peaceful neighbourhood relation with South Asian countries and also India said.

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