Updated: March 17, 2018 5:55:44 pm
Pakistan is unlikely to send its High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood back to New Delhi any time soon, reported The Express Tribune on Saturday. Islamabad’s decision comes in the wake of allegations of harassment and intimidation of diplomats of both countries, and their families. Mahmood is likely to remain in Pakistan indefinitely or until the situation between the countries is resolved. Two days ago, after Pakistan summoned Mahmood to Islamabad for “consultations” over the allegations made, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had called it “pretty normal and routine” and not a recall.
“Our high commissioner will not return to India anytime soon,” the senior Foreign Office official was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune. Mahmood returned to the country from New Delhi on Friday. The officer added that Pakistan may withdraw the families of diplomatic staff from India, if relations didn’t improve.
Speaking to The Indian Express earlier this week, Mahmood had said, “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.”
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Amid the tension between the two countries, The Indian Express reported that it has emerged that Pakistan has blocked Indian government websites — those with domain names .gov and .in — since last May. While New Delhi has taken up the matter with Islamabad multiple times in the last nine months, there has reportedly been no respite. The censorship is felt by visa-seekers in Pakistan, as they are unable to fill up the form online.
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