Pak calls back its envoy to India

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The Pakistan government called back Mahmood for consultation to Islamabad over what it said were incidents of harassment of its High Commission staff in the Indian capital.

Incidents of harassment of Pakistani diplomats and their families that are posted in India have emerged recently, with unidentified people chasing and clocking a vehicle carrying the children of a counsellor just this week.

On Thursday, the Pakistan foreign ministry said: "Pakistan's high commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood would be visiting Islamabad shortly for consultations on matters relating to Pakistan-India relations".

Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported on March 11 that a demarche was issued to the Indian high commission in Islamabad and the external affairs ministry in Delhi in which Pakistan threatened to pull out the families of diplomats from India.

In his letter to the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad said laptops of envoys were being stolen, homes were broken into and power supply frequently snapped.

India said its diplomats in Islamabad had faced harassment for long, "particularly in the last year", when ties between the neighbours had taken a sharp plunge over ceasefire violations and "terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir".

The spokesperson urged that India should practice local politics in its own country and should not involve Pakistan in its elections.

The spat over alleged official disrespect started with Pakistan accusing India of harassing its diplomats. We will not specify the issues taken up in front of the media. "We would like to continue the fine tradition of allowing diplomats to do their jobs", said the government. In 2016 India declared Pakistan High Commission employee Mehmood Akhtar persona non grata for "anti-India activities".

Indian government sources also said Pakistani security agencies are resorting to "aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of officers in close and unsafe proximity".

This comment came, even as it came to light that tension has been brewing between the two sides for a couple of months - one of the incidents involved the doorbell of the Indian deputy High Commissioner J P Singh being rung at 3 am. Indian government sources also 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.

Based upon the official complaint from Pakistan last month, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had ordered a probe into the allegations.

"Indian political parties should also follow this act", he asserted.

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