Indian diplomats in Pakistan are used to their doorbell being ringed in the middle of the night

Indian diplomats in Pakistan are used to their doorbell being ringed in the middle of the night

Indian diplomats in Pakistan are used to their doorbell being ringed in the middle of the night

Mutual allegations against each other by India and Pakistan about harassment and mistreatment of their senior diplomats placed in the other country has rocked the relationship between the two nuclear-powered neighbors. Such incidents that have reportedly taken place in recent days have even been targeted at school-age children of high commission staff.

The incidents are such that would otherwise have been whiffed away as acts of a prankster neighbor. But when the doorbell of a Senior Indian diplomat in Pakistan is rung at 3 am in the night, it does not remain a mere prank given the animosity of the two countries for years now.

There have been allegations that diplomats have been followed by security services and of confrontations with unknown assailants who film the encounters.

Vishnu Prakash, who is a retired diplomat with experience of having served as the political counselor in India’s high commission in Islamabad, said that doorbells being rung in the middle of the night and being followed around by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency is something that the Indian diplomats in Pakistan have become used to. He said this from the personal experience of his own doorbell being rung at the dead of the night on multiple occasions while he was posted in Pakistan

“It’s standard operating procedure,” Prakash said in an interview. “I had a carload of ISI guys following me. If I went to the doctor, they would stand outside and listen in.”

The rift between India and Pakistan

The broadening of the rift between the relationship between India and Pakistan is reflected in the alleged tit-for-tat harassment incidents. The relations between the two countries have not been able to be amended to any satisfactory level by previously held peace talks between the two sides and more recently by the advances of peace by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The advances of peace by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The advances of peace by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mod.

The advances of peace by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

And at the same time, India, which continues to face terrorist attacks in Jammu & Kashmir from miscreants entering the country from other side of the border, has been accusing Pakistan of harboring terrorists who sneak into India with help of Pakistani forces posted at the border with India.  On the other hand, Islamabad has, on multiple occasions, raked up the issue on international platforms of an alleged violation of human rights in Kashmir by Indian security forces.

Very recently a list of the harassment faced by members of the Pakistani diplomatic team in India was submitted via a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs of India, which initiated the most recent spat between the countries. The deputy high commissioner of India in Pakistan was summoned by the foreign ministry of Pakistan on March 13 in relation to these incidents to lodge further complaints.

The Pakistan statement said that a high commission counselor’s children were followed and “intimidated,” while drivers had been stopped. The statement added that a political counselor was “evicted from a cab and harassed by unknown persons, who used abusive language, threatened him and filmed the whole incident with impunity,” and a naval adviser was “aggressively chased”.

“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,” the Pakistani foreign ministry said.

The issues are being looked into by India, it said. “At the same time, you know that our high commissioner in Islamabad is facing a litany of issues that have not been resolved for several months,” India’s foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said on March 15.