A DAY after the Karachi Chamber of Commerce cancelled Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale’s event at the last minute, Secretary (West) Sujata Mehta expressed New Delhi’s concern over the “discourtesy” to Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, on Wednesday, officials said.
Basit is learnt to have told Mehta that this was a private event and the Pakistan government did not have any role in its cancellation. Sources said Basit replied that the Pakistan foreign ministry had given its permission to the Indian high commissioner to travel to Karachi and attend the event, which was not withdrawn.
Official spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said, “Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned to MEA & was conveyed concern of Government Of India on discourtesy to Indian High Commissioner.”
Swarup added, “He was conveyed our hope that our accredited diplomats in Pakistan will be allowed to discharge their normal functions without hindrance.”
According to sources, cancellation of invitation to the Indian envoy was a result of Bambawale’s statements at the Karachi Council of Foreign Relations, calling on Islamabad to focus on the country’s own problems and asserting that Kashmir is an integral part of India.
Bambawale was scheduled to address the business community at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce later on Tuesday.