Pakistan summons envoy over 'harassment' incidents: MEA calls it 'normal and routine', not a recall

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday insisted that Pakistan summoning its High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood to Islamabad was “pretty normal and routine” and not a recall.

Addressing a press conference MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "I am surprised why this question is being raised. He has been called for consultation. This is pretty normal and routine. It is not a recall."

“There is nothing unusual in this. India respects the Vienna Convention of 1961 and Pakistan must do the same,” he said.

MEA’s remark came hours after Islamabad decided to call back its envoy after repeated incidents of "harassment" of its diplomatic staff in New Delhi.  The Pakistan Foreign Ministry claimed that the staff and their families have been facing "harassment, intimidation and outright violence" from Indian state agencies in recent weeks.

File image of Pakistan envoy to India Sohail Mahmood. YouTube screengrab

File image of Pakistan envoy to India Sohail Mahmood. YouTube screengrab

Islamabad also said that this deliberate continuing bullying was not confined to a single isolated event and "continues unabated despite repeated official protests lodged with the Indian High Commission and also with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs at the highest (level)."

India too has alleged that several Indian mission staffers in Islamabad have been severely harassed and intimidated.

“Our High Commission in Islamabad is facing many issues, we did not raise it through media. We would like our High Commission to function normally as per the Vienna Convention. We will respond to charges of harassment through diplomatic channels,” Kumar said.

The MEA spokesperson added that they will not specify the issues taken up in front of the media. "We do not wish to respond to this through media but through established diplomatic channels. Our issues haven’t been resolved in Islamabad,” the MEA spokesperson added.

According to PTI, several Indian High Commission staffers have been severely harassed and intimidated. In one case an officer's home was broken into and a laptop stolen.

On 16 February, the Indian High Commissioner met the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan to lodge a strong protest.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Mar 15, 2018 18:08:27 IST

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