Pakistan envoy Sohail Mahmood is set to return to India — over a week after he was recalled to Islamabad amid escalating tensions between the two countries over alleged incidents of harassment of Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi. Mahmood is expected to host the ‘Pakistan National Day’ function at the High Commission in Delhi tomorrow.
At the time when Mahmood was summoned back, the Pakistani media had quoted officials of the foreign ministry as saying, “Indian secret agencies must stop harassing Pakistani diplomatic staff and their families” and that Mahmood “will not return to India anytime soon”.
A total of 26 incidents of alleged harassment were reported by Pakistani envoys in Delhi in eight days, including two allegations of their children being approached in school
Reacting to the allegations of harassment and intimidation of diplomats of both countries Mahmood had told The Indian Express, “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.”
There were alleged incidents of tit-for-tat ringing of doorbells of the deputy high commissioners of both the countries past midnight. In another claim, a Pakistani diplomat had alleged that his car was blocked by a slow-moving car in New Delhi. The Pakistan High Commission officials alleged that this was done by Indian security and intelligence agencies. The Pakistani diplomat in the car shot a video of the incident, a man taking photographs is also seen in the video.
Several complaints of harassment of Indian diplomats in Pakistani capital were detailed at the diplomatic correspondence known as note verbale. Four note verbale to the Ministry of External Affairs alleging specific incidents of harassment of diplomats, their family members and Indian workers in the High Commission have been mentioned.
Pakistan had recently pulled out of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting which was held in New Delhi on March 19 and 20. The Commerce Minister Pervez Malik had accepted the invitation but later did not show up for the event.
Mahmood had replaced Abdul Basit as the high commissioner took charge of office in May last year.