India, Pak trade harassment claims of their High Commission personnel

New Delhi: A day after the Pakistan High Commission complained that its diplomats were being subjected to different kinds of harassment here, India alleged that several Indian mission staffers in Islamabad have been severely “harassed and intimidated”.

Noting that the Pakistan High Commission here lodged complaints of harassment with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), sources said that no doubt there will be an investigation.

“India makes all efforts to provide a safe, secure and hospitable environment for diplomats to work in. Unfortunately, this cannot be said of Islamabad. The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has been facing tremendous harassment for long, particularly in the last year,” the source.

The sources further said that on February 16, the High Commissioner of India had met the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, to lodge a strong protest against multiple acts of hooliganism against Indian properties and personnel.

“India’s residential complex in Islamabad was raided by Pakistan agencies who expelled all Pakistani service providers and later disconnected power and water supply. Despite the Foreign Secretary’s assurance, the power supply was not restored for over two weeks. The Pakistan High Commission faces no such disruptions (in India),” the sources said.

“More troublingly, over the last few months, several High Commission staff have been severely harassed and intimidated. In one of the cases, one official’s home was broken into and a laptop was stolen,” they added.

Sharing another incident, the sources said that recently the High Commissioner was stopped by the Pakistani agencies in the middle of a busy road to prevent him from attending an event.

“Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and dangerous proximity is a perennial issue. Agency personnel keep shooting videos of the officers thrusting phones on their faces. Obscene phone calls and messages are constantly received on phones,” the sources said. “In view of such an atmosphere of intimidation, most families have returned to India and children have been withdrawn from schools.”

India has repeatedly requested Pakistan to mutually ensure that the High Commissions should be allowed to do their job in an atmosphere free of harassment and intimidation. (ANI)