Pakistan calls back India envoy over ‘harassment’ charges, MEA says routine move
Islamabad on Thursday called to Pakistan its high commissioner to India to discuss the alleged ill-treatment of diplomats and their families in New Delhi over the past few days.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar termed Pakistan calling back the envoy for discussion as nothing out of the ordinary and said New Delhi wanted Islamabad to resolve the issues being faced by Indian staff and ensure their safety.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said India failed to take notice of the increasing incidents of intimidation. “Our high commissioner in New Delhi has been asked to come to Islamabad for consultations,” he said.
In New Delhi, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told the media, “The Pakistan high commissioner has been called for consultations; it is normal and routine. It is not a recall.”
Kumar added: “We want Pakistan to resolve the issues being faced by our staff and ensure their safety...We are looking into issues raised by the Pakistan high commission here.”
Faisal claimed that the Indian government had not taken measures to safeguard Pakistani diplomats and their families in India, adding that the Pakistani government lodged protests over the matter with the Indian deputy high commissioner as well as India’s external affairs ministry.
India and Pakistan have in recent days accused each other of ill-treating diplomats and their families.
Responding to complaints by Islamabad, New Delhi assured last week that “India makes all efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for diplomats to work in”. It added that Indian officials had also faced “harassment” last year in Pakistan but they chose to deal with it through “quiet and persistent diplomacy”.
Indian officials, who wished not to be named, have pointed to a series of incidents allegedly indicating harassment of Indian diplomats in Islamabad — forcibly stopping high commission vehicles, hampering the work of a residential project, and threatening a contractor who maintains the Indian chancery building.
Meanwhile, days after Iran invited China and Pakistan to participate in the development of the Chabahar port, India today said it was the prerogative of the Iranian government to choose its partners for the project.
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif, during a three-day visit to Islamabad, invited Pakistan and China to participate in the strategic Chabahar Port project, saying it was not aimed at “strangulating” or “encircling” anybody.
“It is the prerogative of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to choose its partners for the development of infrastructure facilities there,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during a media briefing.
The first phase of the Chabahar port on the Gulf of Oman was inaugurated four months ago, opening a new strategic route connecting Iran, India and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.