‘Harassment’ of diplomats: Pakistan summons envoy Sohail Mahmood to Islamabad for consultations

Pakistan has summoned High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood to Islamabad for “consultations” over alleged incidents of “harassment” and “intimidation” of its diplomatic staff in New Delhi. At least 26 such incidents have been reported in the last eight days in the national capital; of these two were reportedly against schoolgoing children of the diplomats.

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad he was also facing harassment and termed it as a “new normal” there.

Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said India has failed to take notice of the increasing incidents of intimidation. “Our High Commissioner in New Delhi has been asked to come to Islamabad for consultations,” PTI quoted Faisal as saying.

Mahmood had on Wednesday said that “current approach and methods” only go against the diplomatic efforts to make progress, and a “rethink” is needed in the current circumstances.

His comment came when 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. Since the Indian side felt that this was done by Pakistan’s security agencies, it was informed that the Pakistan deputy high commissioner Syed Haider Shah’s doorbell was also rung at 3 am in next few days.

Mahmood told The Indian Express on Wednesday, “Through painstaking efforts over the past several months, we twice managed to ease tensions somewhat and began making progress on some of the tracks, including on humanitarian issues. The current approach and methods only militate against such efforts, while holding no prospect of advancing any particular objective. A re-think is in order.” Mahmood came to India in August last year.