India continues to harass Pakistan's diplomatic staff, families: Foreign OfficeWorld
The staff of Pakistan High Commission and their families continue to face "intense harassment, intimidation and outright violence from the Indian state agencies", read a press release issued by the Foreign Office on Tuesday.
The Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh was summoned by Director General South Asia and Saarc Dr Mohammad Faisal on Tuesday and a strong protest was lodged at the maltreatment being meted out to the officials and families of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, read the statement.
The Foreign Office said that "these [incidents] have escalated exponentially in the last few days".
In the latest of such incidents which have continued unabated, On Tuesday (today) a car carrying school-going children of the counsellor was followed by unknown persons on cars and motorcycles. The children were harassed, intimidated and their vehicle was blocked.
"For psychological intimidation, videos and photographs of the children were constantly made for 40 minutes, leaving the children extremely traumatised. They were followed all the way to their residence."
Additionally, the drivers of the High Commission were forcibly halted and their mobile phones aggressively switched off to prevent them from contacting anyone, the Foreign Office said in its statement.
The statement describes how previously, on March 7 and 8, the children of the officers of the High Commission were harassed while returning from school. "Their cars were stopped by unknown persons who threatened the children and filmed them."
"When a protest was lodged following this incident, instead of ameliorating the situation, it was followed by further harassment and stoppage of the provision of gas to the residential complex and further threatening of staff working at the High Commission," reads the statement.
In other incidents on March 9, the naval adviser's car was aggressively chased and a political counsellor was forcibly evicted from a cab and harassed by unknown persons, who used abusive language, threatened him and filmed the whole incident with impunity.
Three days later, on March 12, some technicians were threatened and prevented from working at the diplomatic office. That evening, the First Secretary was aggressively followed when he left work for his residence.
"Despite repeated official protests lodged with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs at the highest level, there has been a rise in the occurrence of such disturbing events," said Dr Mohammad Faisal.
He emphasised that under the Vienna Convention, the safety and the security of Pakistani diplomats and their families is the responsibility of the Indian Government.
"The total apathy and failure of the Indian government to put a halt to these despicable incidents, sparing not even young children, indicates both a lack of capacity to protect foreign diplomats posted in India or a more reprehensible, complicit unwillingness to do so," he maintained.
Earlier on Saturday, Islamabad had accused India of harassing its diplomats and their families in the country and threatened to pull out the families if the intimidation did not stop.
A demarche was made to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and external affairs ministry in New Delhi in this regard.
Relations between Pakistan and India have historically been tense, and the tensions aggravated under the BJP government.
Frequent ceasefire violations have been reported on the Line of Control and Working Boundary by India; in fact the highest number of breaches took place last year since the 2003 ceasefire accord took effect leaving 87 people dead.