Updated: March 15, 2018 4:40:55 pm
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday insisted that Pakistan summoning its High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood to Islamabad was “pretty normal and routine”and not a recall.
Pakistan has summoned Mahmood to Islamabad for “consultations” over alleged incidents of “harassment” and “intimidation” of its diplomatic staff in New Delhi. At least 26 such incidents have been reported in the last eight days in the national capital; of these two were reportedly against school going children of the diplomats.
“I am surprised why is this question being raised. He has been called for consultation. This is pretty normal and routine. It is not a recall,” ANI quoted Raveesh Kumar, MEA spokesperson as saying.
“We won’t give details of the issue which we’ve taken up with the Pakistan government. This is something which should be taken up through established diplomatic channels and not published in media. We expect them to look into and resolve those issues,” he added.
He also said that India wants that its commission in Islamabad functions smoothly, the officials are not harassed, their work is not obstructed and that the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations, 1961 is abided by.
Meanwhile, the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad also said he was also facing harassment and termed it as a “new normal” there. Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said India has 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,” PTI quoted Faisal as saying.
Mahmood had on Wednesday said that “current approach and methods” only go against the diplomatic efforts to make progress, and a “rethink” is needed in the current circumstances.
His comment came when it came to light that tension has been brewing between the two sides for a couple of months — one of the incidents involved the doorbell of the Indian deputy High Commissioner J P Singh being rung at 3 am. Since the Indian side felt that this was done by Pakistan’s security agencies, it was informed that the Pakistan deputy high commissioner Syed Haider Shah’s doorbell was also rung at 3 am in next few days.
Mahmood told The Indian Express on Wednesday, “Through painstaking efforts over the past several months, we twice managed to ease tensions somewhat and began making progress on some of the tracks, including on humanitarian issues. The current approach and methods only militate against such efforts, while holding no prospect of advancing any particular objective. A re-think is in order.” Mahmood came to India in August last year.
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