An intruder barged into the room of a visiting Pakistani bureaucrat in the middle of the night in a five-star hotel in New Delhi on Thursday, sparking off a security scare and potentially sowing the seeds of a diplomatic controversy.
Diplomatic sources said Bilal Khan Pasha, who is a deputy secretary in the Pakistani ministry of commerce, was petrified when hotel staff tried to forcibly remove his luggage and asked him to immediately check out from the Taj Palace hotel on SP Marg.
It is reliably learnt that the Pakistani High Commission has lodged a strong protest with the ministry of external affairs over the unsavoury episode that occurred at 4 am, even though the hotel has apologised.
Confirming the goof-up, a Taj spokesperson said, “In this instance it was an instruction given by a guest to our staff to process his check out; inadvertently giving the wrong room number. The staff on entering the room realised the mistake, apologised and withdrew immediately.” Taj Palace general manager Taljinder Singh had on Thursday flatly denied the incident.
Pasha had accompanied Pakistani commerce secretary Qasim Niaz for the commerce-secretary level talks, held here on January 15-16 after more than a year to forge closer trade ties.
The talks had come under a shadow after bilateral ties plunged to a new state of crisis last year due to repeated border violations by Pakistan Army and unprovoked murders of Indian soldiers along the Line of Control.
Last June, Pakistan had lodged a protest with the MEA after one of its High Commission officials was reportedly “beaten up” in the Capital. The Indian side said the official was not “attacked” as claimed by Pakistan, and the incident was the fallout of a road accident involving the official’s car.