MEA summons Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit over discourtesy to Indian High Commissioner

Pakistan envoy to India, Abdul Basit, was on Wednesday summoned by the MEA over discourtesy meted out to Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale in Karachi, according to ANI. 

The Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, Sujata Mehta summoned Basit and "conveyed the concern of the government of India ... on the discourtesy (shown) to the Indian High Commissioner." Basit was told that India hoped its diplomats in Pakistan would be allowed to discharge their normal functions without hindrance, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said

According to a report in News 18on Tuesday, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce scrapped an event, which Bambawale was due to attend, at the last moment. Bambawale was scheduled to interact with the business community but he was informed just 30 minutes prior to the event that he was not welcome without giving any plausible explanation.

A file image of Gautam Bambawale. News 18

A file image of Gautam Bambawale. News 18

The snub came after Bambawale addressed an interactive session organised by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations on Monday. In his speech, Bambawale had reinstated India's stand on Kashmir and insisted that it is India's internal matter. Stating that people living in glass houses should not throw stones at other, he had said, "There are problems in both India and Pakistan and you [Pakistan] should focus on resolving your problems before looking into the problems of other countries." About the statement made by Modi on Balochistan, the envoy said, "The Prime Minister, in his 15 August independence day speech, only referred to the letters he had received."

Interestingly, in what can be seen as an effort to soothe the flaring tension between the two nations, Bambawale had pointed out that even while tensions were high between the two nations, there had been contacts at the operational level. He also batted for greater trade ties between Pakistan and India and said political issues will take time to resolve highlighting that India has border disputes with China too, but the two nations were also the biggest trade partners. According to reports in leading Pakistani newspapers, he said that political issues take time to resolve but the two countries can take up smaller matters and move forward.

Bambawale, who was on his first visit to Karachi after assuming charge in January this year, was told about the cancellation just half an hour before the event. The organisers did not give a reason immediately for the cancellation. However, the Indian officials felt that Bambawale's comments on Monday on Pakistan's interference in Kashmir which was India's internal matter had "rattled the Pakistani authorities, prompting a cancellation".

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Sep 07, 2016 16:52 PM

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