Diplomats tailed, hoax calls, static surveillance, India complains to Pakistan
The Indian high commission in Islamabad detailed the harassment in a note verbale submitted to Pakistan’s foreign ministry on March 13.Updated: Mar 18, 2019 20:59 IST
India has formally complained to Pakistan about more than 15 instances of harassment of its diplomats and officers in Islamabad, including aggressive tailing and a visit by security personnel to an ill official admitted to hospital, over the past two weeks.
The complaint comes against the backdrop of tensions between the two countries in the aftermath of the February 14 suicide bombing at Pulwama, which killed 40 troops and was claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed. Indian conducted an air strike in response to the attack and this was followed by an aerial engagement over the Line of Control.
The Indian high commission in Islamabad detailed the harassment in a note verbale – an unsigned diplomatic correspondence – submitted to Pakistan’s foreign ministry on March 13, people familiar with developments said.
The document said two Pakistani personnel had been following high commissioner Ajay Bisaria every day. A first secretary and the naval adviser were both aggressively tailed by Pakistani personnel in cars while travelling for work on March 8.
The following day, India’s deputy high commissioner was aggressively tailed by Pakistani personnel on a motorcycle while going from his residence to a market and again while travelling from the mission to his residence and then to the home of the Indian envoy.
The deputy high commissioner was again aggressively followed by personnel on a motorcycle while going from residence to a market on March 10.
The naval adviser was aggressively followed by a car while going from his residence to the Islamabad Club and another officer’s residence on March 9 and 10. On March 11, the naval and military advisers were aggressively tailed by a car while going from their residences to the mission and back.
Pakistani personnel approached the personal security officer of the high commissioner, while he was admitted in hospital, in an “intimidatory manner”, according to the note verbale.
The note also complained about an uptick in Pakistani security personnel being deployed outside homes of officers and diplomats in recent weeks. These personnel have been pressuring local security guards outside the homes to provide details of the movements of Indian officials, the note added.
On March 9 and 10, Pakistani personnel were spotted “keeping static surveillance” outside the home of the deputy high commissioner and they also met the local security guard regularly and sought details regarding the official.
The note also cited instances of two Indian officers receiving several “hoax calls” from the same number over the past few days.
The Indian side asked Pakistani authorities to “investigate these incidents urgently and instruct the relevant agencies to ensure that similar incidents do not recur”. It noted that such incidents of harassment violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and that the safety and security of Indian high commission officers, staff members and their families is the responsibility of the Pakistan government.