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Diplomat Harassment Row: Pakistan Envoy Sohail Mahmood Set to Return to India

Edited By: Aakarshuk Sarna

News18.com

Last Updated: March 22, 2018, 16:43 IST

File photo of Pakistan's High Commissioner in India, Sohail Mahmood.

File photo of Pakistan's High Commissioner in India, Sohail Mahmood.

Pakistan’s foreign office had called Mahmood back for consultations last week, saying India had failed to take notice of the increasing incidents of intimidation of its diplomatic staff.

New Delhi: Pakistan’s envoy to India Sohail Mahmood, who was recalled by Islamabad more than a week ago amid a diplomatic standoff, is likely to return to New Delhi on Thursday. He is expected to host a 'Pakistan National Day' event at the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi on Friday.

Pakistan’s foreign office had said that Mahmood was called back for consultations as India had failed to take notice of the increasing incidents of intimidation of its diplomatic staff.

A total of 26 incidents of alleged harassment were reported by Pakistani diplomatic staff in Delhi in eight days, including two allegations of their children being approached in school. At the time the Pakistani High Commissioner was called back, Pakistani media had said that Mahmood is unlikely to return to India anytime soon.

There were alleged incidents of tit-for-tat ringing of doorbells of deputy high commissioners of both countries after midnight. India holds Pakistan responsible for the bitterness in ties and the complaints go back to 2017, when Pakistan according to Indian authorities, started blocking access to Indian government websites.

The Pakistan Foreign Ministry had claimed that its staff and their families have been facing "harassment, intimidation and outright violence" from Indian state agencies in recent weeks. In another claim, the ministry said that Indian officials stopped the car of the deputy high commissioner for 40 minutes and harassed the occupants of the vehicle.

The Pakistan High Commission said that it had shared with the External Affairs Ministry photographs identifying the individuals, who forcibly halted and took pictures of the officers but regrettably no positive action was taken by the Indian side so far.

The Indian government had played down the issue of the “recall” and said that it was a routine thing. “It is pretty normal for an ambassador to go back to his country. It is a routine thing. Indian ambassadors abroad are also called back for discussions frequently,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

Kumar said that India is looking into the issues raised by Islamabad, but said that at the same time, the Indian High Commission there has also been facing issues that were raised several months ago.

first published:March 22, 2018, 16:25 IST
last updated:March 22, 2018, 16:43 IST