India lodges another protest after diplomats harassed in Pakistan

"Another Note Verbale was sent today by Indian High Commission in Islamabad to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan protesting against the intimidation and harassment of Indian High Commission officials".

Commerce Minister Pervez Malik, who had earlier accepted India's invitation to join the informal WTO ministerial meeting scheduled for March 19 and 20, has decided not to attend.

In the meantime, Pakistan is considering choices to deal the situation aftermath calling back of its High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood from New Delhi due to alleged harassment of diplomats in India.

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Pakistan had said it called home its envoy for consultations after repeated incidents of "harassment" of its diplomatic staff in New Delhi.

Trade ministers of over 50 nations including the US, China and Pakistan were invited by India to discuss issues related to agriculture and services.

Kumar also added that India wants its mission in Pakistan to function normally, in keeping with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961.

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Aside from the diplomatic spat surrounding Britain and Russian Federation or the war of words between Trump administration and North Korea, a new row has been emerging between diplomats in India and Pakistan - over ringing of bells late at night. A day after the 12th Note Verbale was sent on Saturday, another such Note was sent on Sunday by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry, protesting against the intimidation and harassment of the Indian officials.

India complained that the website of its High Commission remained intermittently blocked, making official work impossible. "Indian High Commission in Pakistan is facing many issues". While New Delhi has taken up the matter with Islamabad multiple times in the last nine months, there has reportedly been no respite.

Last week, on March 11, Islamabad accused India of harassing diplomats and their families living in the country, reported Pakistan-based publication Dawn, quoting diplomatic sources.

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While India has said it is looking into the incidents, it sought to downplay them and stated that the visit of High Commissioner Mahmood to Islamabad is "routine and normal", according to Raveesh Kumar, Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

  • Kelly Blake