Pakistan has summoned its high commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood back to Islamabad for a “meeting to discuss recent issues to do with the alleged harassment of diplomats,” according to reports. Both India and Pakistan have been accusing each other of harassing, even intimidating, diplomats in an ongoing diplomatic spat.
The Indian government downplayed the move, calling it “routine,” NDTV reported. “He has been called back for consultation. This is pretty normal for High Commissioner to brief its foreign office. We have no further comments,” foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a press conference in New Delhi.
A few days back, Pakistan issued a demarche to India, reports add, “saying it was becoming difficult for its diplomats to function in Delhi.” New hostilities have risen due to an alleged ISI raid on a residential complex under construction for Indian diplomats in Islamabad.
“A group of 7-8 men raided the residential complex last month and disconnected the electricity and water supply to the property which is owned by India,” reports said. On February 16, Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria met the Pakistan foreign secretary to register a strong protest against such “multiple acts of hooliganism” against Indian staff and property.
Despite that, the power supply wasn’t restored for over two weeks and Bisaria’s car was intercepted recently in the middle of the road and he was prevented from attending an event, sources add.
In February this year, Pakistan had summoned India’s deputy high commissioner JP Singh in Islamabad for the fourth time in a month to condemn the “unprovoked firing” by Indian troops across the Line of Control (LoC), PTI had reported.
Director general (South Asia and SAARC) Mohammad Faisal summoned Singh and “condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations” by Indian forces on February 22 in Rawalakot/Satwal Sector, the foreign office said in a statement. The firing killed a labourer, working at a civilian crush plant, at Poonch river bank, it added.
The Foreign Office had summoned India’s deputy high commissioner on February 5, 15 and 20. The Indian envoy was summoned five times in the previous month — on January 15, 18, 19, 20 and 21.
Pak urged the Indian side to allow the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.
India, however, maintains that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.