Pakistan calls back envoy; it's routine, says India

MEA mum on allegations by Pakistan on envoy's harassment.

New Delhi/Islamabad: With the Indo-Pak diplomats’ harassment row worsening, Pakistan on Thursday recalled its high commissioner Sohail Mahmood to Islamabad for consultations but an unfazed India said it was “pretty normal” for diplomats to go back to their countries for “consultations”. Pakistan had issued a note verbale recently to India on the matter while India issued a note verbale to Pakistan on the issue last Saturday. But there are indications that New Delhi too could call its High Commissioner for consultations “if and when required” in case it is deemed necessary.

The ministry of external affairs refused to discuss the incidents that led to the row, saying they will be taken up with Pakistan through “established diplomatic channels” and not through the media but added that the Pakistani complaints were being “looked into”. New Delhi however did say that the Indian high commission in Islamabad was facing “a litany of issues which have not been resolved for several months”.

Both sides have alleged that their diplomats have been harassed in the other country, with Islamabad also saying children of their diplomatic staff have also been traumatised after vehicles ferrying them to school were stopped. Pakistani diplomatic sources claim doorbells are being rung and phone calls being received by their diplomats at odd hours. On Thursday, the Pakistani foreign ministry said, “Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood would be visiting Islamabad shortly for consultations on matters relating to Pakistan-India relations.”

Asked about the developments, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, It is normal and routine for any country to call its envoy for consultations.” He added, “Consultations by any resident ambassador/ high commissioner with their headquarters is a matter for that country. We of course have no comments to offer on the reports regarding the their high commissioner.” Asked about whether India had plans to call its envoy too for ‘consultations’, the MEA spokesperson said he was not aware of any such plan but that it could be done “as and when required”, adding quickly however that there is no linkage to the diplomat harassment row.

Asked about the details in the reported incidents of harassment, the MEA said, We have seen reports of issues raised by Pakistan. We do not wish to respond to these issues through the media but through established diplomatic channels. What I can say is that we are looking into these issues.” The Pakistan foreign ministry meanwhile lashed out at India, saying, “The deliberate bullying is not confined to a single isolated event, but continues unabated in a series of incidents ... Pakistan can go to any limit for the safeguarding of its diplomats”.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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