Indian diplomats in Pakistan harassed again, questioned for nearly half an hour

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Anas MallickUpdated: Dec 27, 2018, 04:05 PM IST

File photo. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

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The diplomats were on an official trip to Peshawar which has been cut short following the incident.

In yet another incident of harassment of Indian diplomats, an Indian High Commission team was harassed in Peshawar on 21 December. The officials were returning from Qissa Khwani Bazaar in Peshawar to Hotel Pearl Continental when their vehicle was stopped by two "agency officials" who were following them on a motorbike. 

The Indian delegation was stopped and queried for almost 30 minutes on the main road. While the Indian officials requested them to collect the information about the visit once they reach the hotel, the "agency officials" did not allow the Indian officials to proceed. The Indian diplomats were warned to head back to Islamabad immediately. Subsequently, the visit had to be curtailed and the Indian officials had no choice but to return to Islamabad.

India has raised the matter with Islamabad. The Indian High Commission issued a note verbale to Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 23, requesting a probe into the incident. 

Indian mission also asked the "agency officials" to be sensitized on extending due courtesies and adequate protocol to visiting diplomats as per the norms.

WION was the first to report on the Indian diplomats being harassed in Pakistan. Indian diplomats are being harassed for weeks now. On December 10, an intruder tried to enter the house an Indian diplomat in Islamabad. India has lodged a complaint. Other instances include no gas connection in new residences, randomly switching off electricity, hostile questioning of guests at receptions. 

Sources have told WION that harassment of Indian diplomats had reached an unacceptable level in early 2018. We had moved in our new mission building in winters without gas supplies and no internet connection while Pakistan diplomats are living comfortably in Delhi. I leave up to you to decide who is harassing who.

Reacting to the development, Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said, "Pakistan stand on upholding Vienna convention on diplomatic relations and has always endeavoured to facilitate the working of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad within the diplomatic norms, international law and practises. It remains our position that smooth and unhindered functioning of missions is essential."

Meanwhile, sources have told WION that, Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has sent a protest note verbale to the Ministry of External Affairs on an attempted hacking of the Gmail account of a senior diplomat in Pak High Commission, Delhi. Pakistan has sent three note verbals in December to the MEA on the issues and difficulties such as -- gas and water supplies being barred for 6 days to Pakistani staff at its Commission in Delhi.

In March this year, Indian and Pakistani diplomats placed in respective countries reported harassment. After weeks of talking at a higher level, both sides agreed to resolve the matter. 

On 30 March 2018, India and Pakistan mutually agreed to resolve matters related to the treatment of diplomats and diplomatic premises, in line with the 1992 Code of Conduct for the treatment of diplomatic/consular personnel in India and Pakistan. 

In July, speaking in the Parliament, Minister of state in Ministry of External Affairs General VK Singh said, "the Government of India has, from time to time, taken up the incidents of harassment, aggressive surveillance and intimidation of the officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and also the obstacles placed in the early completion of residential complex for the Indian High Commission officials. The Pakistan side was asked to resolve these issues and ensure the safety and security of our diplomatic Mission and its diplomatic and consular officials."

The functioning of diplomatic missions between India and Pakistan is governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and the bilateral Code of Conduct signed by the two countries in 1992.

India, Pakistan code of conduct of 1992 says safety and security of the premises of diplomatic personnel, their families shall be respected and protected. It also says intrusive and aggressive surveillance such as verbal and physical harassment shall not be allowed.