Over a month after expelling Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, Pakistan on Sunday refused to grant visa to diplomat Jayant Khobragade, who has been appointed as India's chargé d'affaires in Islamabad. The development is expected to further downgrade diplomatic ties between the two belligerent neighbours.
The bilateral relations have taken a major hit, following India’s decision to revoke Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir region into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in August 2019, resulting in a near standstill in ties.
India officially proposed Khobragade’s name in June this year. Islamabad’s move to oppose visa is reportedly due to Khobragade's seniority, The Times of India reported. Pakistan reportedly considers the diplomat too senior to lead the Indian mission, especially after its strength has been halved.
Diplomatically, Pakistan does not have a say on who India appoints as its diplomats and rejecting a visa to a high-level appointee is a rarity. New Delhi is likely to now respond with reciprocal action.
An IFS officer of 1995 batch, Khobragade, has served in Pakistan earlier, is at present the joint secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy. Prior to this, he has served as Indian ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic. Later, he worked with Indian missions in Russia, Spain and Kazakhstan.
India recently described Pakistan as an epicenter of terrorism and said no one deserves unsolicited lecture on human rights from Islamabad that has consistently persecuted its ethnic and religious minorities including Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. Exercising the Right of Reply to the statements made by Pakistan at the 45th session of Human Rights Council (HRC) here, the Indian representative said that it has become habitual for Pakistan to malign India with false and fabricated narratives for its self-serving malicious purposes.
"Neither India nor others deserve this unsolicited lecture on human rights from a country that has consistently persecuted its ethnic and religious minorities, is an epicenter of terrorism, has the distinction of providing pensions to individuals on UN Sanctions list and has a Prime Minister who proudly admits training tens of thousands of terrorists to fight in Jammu and Kashmir," the Indian diplomat said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to raise the issue of Jammu and Kashmir again in his United Nations General Assembly address on September 25.