New Delhi: India and Pakistan are in the middle of a major diplomatic spat with both sides accusing each other of harassing, even intimidating, diplomats. While Pakistan has now issued a demarche to India saying it was becoming difficult for its diplomats to function in Delhi, sources here said the present round of hostility was initiated by an ISI raid on a residential complex under construction for Indian diplomats in Islamabad.
A group of 7-8 men raided the residential complex last month and disconnected the electricity and water supply to the property which is owned by India. Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria met the Pakistan foreign secretary on February 16 to strongly protest such “multiple acts of hooliganism” against Indian staff and property.
Despite the protest by Bisaria, the power supply wasn’t restored for over two weeks. Bisaria himself had his car intercepted recently in the middle of the road as he was prevented from attending an event, sources here said.
The government, as a source said, has also not taken kindly to the fact that Islamabad Club has sought to deny membership, which is open to all diplomats, to Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria and other Indian diplomats. Pakistan’s interior ministry is yet to issue the no-objection certificate required for the membership given to Indian diplomats.
On the issue of India’s residential project in Islamabad, sources said Pakistan had denied visas to Indian companies involved in the construction. The main contractor, who is responsible for maintenance of the chancery, is said to have been threatened by Pakistani officials.
He was told to leave the complex and also warned of action against him if he continued to do business with the Indian mission. India believes that Pakistan diplomats here are operating in a much better environment than their Indian counterparts in Islamabad.
“The truth is that even the chancery can’t go about its normal business as the security guards have been threatened by Pakistani officials and asked not to allow any local to the chancery building,” a source here said.