ISI raid on Indian diplomats sparks showdown between New Delhi and Islamabad

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari says the Modi government must ensure protection of diplomats

PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari says the Modi government must ensure protection of diplomats

Indian diplomats have always been closely monitored and followed by ISI in Islamabad and elsewhere in Pakistan, but situation has turned worse in recent years, one of the persons quoted above hinted.

Pakistan too has accused India of harassing its diplomats and their families and threatened to pull out the families.

"Over the last few months, High Commission staff have been harassed and intimidated".

"On the way both cars continuously obstructed, harassed and stopped the driver and this continued for nearly 20 minutes".

On the other hand, government sources told The Indian Express that Indian officials in Islamabad are being subjected to increased hostility, harassment and intimidation. "In view of such an atmosphere of intimidation, most families have returned to India and children have been withdrawn from schools". Even after the protest from Indian diplomat, power supply was not restored for over two weeks.

They regretted that this, however, could not be said of Islamabad. "We would like to continue the fine tradition of allowing diplomats to do their jobs", sources added.

Indian government sources said the vehicle of India's high commissioner was stopped recently in a busy road to prevent him from attending an event, while another Indian diplomat's house was broken into and a laptop stolen. These will no doubt be investigated. Last month there were intrusions into the complex of Indian High Commission in Islamabad and utilities were switched off, sources said.

Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria strongly protested such acts of hooliganism in his meeting with foreign secretary of Pakistan on February 16.

Pakistan ministry of foreign affairs (MoFA) sources, meanwhile, also alleged harassment of Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi, saying that there have been "six incidents of harassment reported in a span of three days" following which a "note verbale" was issued to India. "In one of the cases, one official's home was broken into and a laptop was stolen", they added.

Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and unsafe proximity was a perennial issue. Agency personnel keep shooting videos of the officers thrusting phones on their faces. They further allege that the diplomats stationed in Islamabad have been receiving obscene phone calls and messages.

Besides, the Islamabad Club is learnt to have stalled the membership of Bisaria, who was posted as High Commissioner previous year, without assigning any reason. "The Pakistan High Commission faces no such disruptions", the source said.

"The Indian government must ensure protection of Pakistani diplomats", he said.

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