Pak diplomatic row: India issues 13th Note Verbale to Pak on harassment

Pakistan       by Haider Ali Sindhu | Published

After this, there were reports of power and gas supply being shut for the Indian diplomats in Islamabad.

India onSunday gave yet another Note Verbale to Pakistan through its high commission in Islamabad protesting the "intimidation and harassment" of mission officials, the 13th such diplomatic note in less than three months.

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.

When asked if there would be a statement by the Chair at the end of the meeting, she had said it would be for the mini-ministerial to decide. The first was in 2009.

However, Indian sources said that the standoff was months old, when in May a year ago, Pakistani government "intermittently blocked Indian government websites in Pakistan" and "visa seekers faced trouble". But there is very little room for relations to improve if both countries fail to respect diplomatic protocol and ensure the safety and security of the other country's diplomats and their families.

Yesterday, India gave Pakistan a note verbale through its high commission in Islamabad, specifically mentioning two incidents of harassment.

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The ongoing diplomatic stand-off between India and Pakistan took a new twist on Thursday after the latter called its envoy, Shoail Mahmood, back home to discuss incidents of "harassment" that its diplomats have been allegedly facing in New Delhi lately.

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.

Mahmood arrived a day after the Foreign Office spokesman said that he was being summoned for consultation "due to non-stop harassment of families of the diplomats".

The Express Tribune reported that primarily it was thought he would return to India following consultations with authorities.

Indian officials privately said that life had become "very difficult" for diplomats at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

"Children have never been harassed even when two countries have had the worst of relationship", he said.

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