50 nations to take up global trade issues — WTO ministerial meet

Pakistan       by Haider Ali Sindhu | Published

Incidents of harassing Pakistani diplomatic officials and family of deputy high commissioner in India was not an ordinary thing, he said talking to a private news channel.

The Foreign Ministry of India had complained to the Pakistan government today about the incidents in which some of the Indian High Commission officials were followed and abused during their shopping in Islamabad's main business district.

The foreign minister had told the National Assembly that India committed more than "400 ceasefire violations" along the LoC and the working boundary since January in which "18 civilians" were killed.

Sources in the foreign ministry here said the situation has changed after "repeated harassment of families of diplomats" and it was made a decision to skip the invitation.

The Nation newspaper quoted an unnamed official as saying, "We can not send our commerce minister to India when they are harassing our diplomats". But there is very little room for relations to improve if both countries fail to respect diplomatic protocol and ensure the safety and security of the other country's diplomats and their families. "This was the 12th Note Verbale this year on the subject", reported news agency ANI, quoting sources.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is also unlikely to participate in the WTO meeting called by India to discuss ways to take forward important issues in the WTO.

The Indian government has also alleged that "the website of the High Commission continues to be intermittently blocked, causing inconvenience and affecting the normal functioning of the Mission".

Then there were complaints that power supply and gas was being shut to a residential complex in Islamabad for Indian diplomats, followed by door bells being rung late at night.

Foreign ministries on both the sides allege systematic harassment of their senior diplomats.

Mahmood arrived a day after the Foreign Office spokesman said that he was being summoned for consultation "due to non-stop harassment of families of the diplomats".

Sources in the foreign ministry in Islamabad said the situation had changed after "repeated harassment of families of diplomats" and it was chose to skip the invitation. As a result of this, the High Commissioner of Pakistan Sohail Mahmood was asked to visit Islamabad at short notice for consultations.

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