Days after a woman in Delhi lodged a police complaint against a Pakistan High Commission staffer for allegedly touching her inappropriately at a market, India has accused Pakistani intelligence agencies of threatening to lodge retaliatory complaints against two of its diplomats.
The Indian Express has learnt that the Indian High Commission in Islamabad has sent a “note verbale”, an unsigned less-formal mode of diplomatic communication, detailing the incident in Pakistan’s capital city.
“On January 15, at 10 am, while going from the High Commission to the World Mart market in Diplomatic enclave, two of the staff members of this mission, were intercepted by Pakistani agency personnel and questioned them about the alleged incident with a Pakistan High Commission official in India on January and why that happened. Further, they threatened mission officials that they would reciprocate in the same way,” the note verbale sent to Pakistan Foreign Ministry recently said.
Not helping strained ties
Despite the Kartarpur corridor outreach, New Delhi and Islamabad seem to be at loggerheads again over harassment of diplomats. While the issue was resolved last year, such incidents are threatening to adversely impact ties once again.
“The Ministry is requested to kindly investigate this incident and instruct the relevant agency to ensure that such incidents do not recur,” it said, while requesting that “the esteemed ministry may kindly share the results of the investigation with the High Commission”.
The note also pointed out that such incidents of harassment of family members of diplomats are in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic relations of 1961.
On January 13, a staffer of the Pakistan High Commission was taken to Sarojini Nagar police station after a woman alleged that he touched her inappropriately at a popular market in the south Delhi locality. The issue was resolved and the staffer allowed to leave after “he later apologised”, a senior police officer had said.
Sources said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has also expressed concern, in another note verbale, over reports of a speech delivered on January 14 in Lahore by a “so-called Amir of Ansar-ul-Ummah” — Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a UN-designated terrorist entity — advocating terror and violence against India.
“The ministry registers its strong protest at the use of Pakistan-controlled territory by extremist and terrorist elements to freely promote violence and terror against India,” the note sent by the MEA to Pakistan High Commission said.
Sources said New Delhi called upon the Pakistan government to fulfill its international obligations and abide by its bilateral commitments to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India, in any manner.
Tension between India and Pakistan had risen last year over alleged harassment of each other’s diplomats. The latest tit-for-tat charges pose a serious challenge to an understanding that was subsequently reached to resolve such issues amicably.