Indian diplomats stationed in Islamabad face harassment yet again while hosting Iftar at Serena Hotel, Islamabad. According to reports, Pakistani officials stopped, harassed and intimidated the guests who were invited at an Iftar party hosted by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday.
As per the initial inputs, hundred of guests present at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were manhandled by Pakistani security agencies and were turned away at the entrance of the Serena hotel where the party was being hosted.
Reports suggest that the Pakistani officials virtually laid siege on the hotel on Saturday when the Iftar party was organised.
“Before that, they called invitees from unknown numbers and threatened them with consequences if they attended the Iftar party hosted by the Indian High Commission,” Sources said.
Sources on harassment of guests at Iftar hosted by Indian High Commission in Islamabad: Before that, they called invitees from masked numbers and threatened them with consequences if they attended the Iftar. (2/2) https://t.co/3dvYG4AdBY
— ANI (@ANI) June 2, 2019
The reports also said that the gates were shut down and many were told that the Iftar party has been cancelled.
While speaking at the event, Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria confirmed the incident and also apologised to those who were subjected to extra scrutiny. He said, “I would like to apologise to all our friends who were subject to extra scrutiny.”
#Indian diplomats again harassed by Pak security officials while they were hosting Iftar. Reportedly, the guests who were present at the @IndiainPakistan in #Islamabad were manhandled by Pak security agencies at Indian mission’s #Iftar @DrSJaishankar @MEAIndia pic.twitter.com/WPYZGP45Ql
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay07) June 1, 2019
The High Commission of India to Pakistan had organised an Iftar party in Islamabad on June 1 and had also extended an invite to Pakistani leadership including Prime Minister Imran Khan.
However, this is not the first time when Indian diplomats have faced such insults in Pakistan. They continue to be at the receiving end of harassment by Pakistani authorities in Islamabad, even as both countries have agreed to adhere to the Vienna Convention’s rules laid for safeguarding diplomats’ interests.
In fact, India has sent repeated note verbale, an official diplomatic communication, to Foreign Ministry of Pakistan raising strong concerns over the harassment Indian diplomats face in Islamabad time and again.
Last month India had lodged a complaint with the Pakistani authorities regarding the two Indian diplomats who were allegedly locked up and harassed at Gurudwara near Lahore, Pakistan on April 17.
There have been several incidents in the past where Indian diplomats have been harassed while trying to facilitate the travel of Sikh pilgrims to the several gurudwaras in the Punjab province. Pro-Khalistani groups have also reportedly confronted the Indian pilgrims.
India had raised the issue of harassment of its diplomats in March as well. Following the Pulwama attacks and the subsequent Balakot air strikes, at least 6 incidents of harassment of India’s Naval advisor in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, Captain Peter Varghese, was reported by the mission to Pakistan government.
India has also previously complained about the deliberate power cuts during the harsh winters in Pakistan. In November, just a day after India decided to develop and build the Kartarpur corridor, Indian diplomats were blocked from meeting the Sikh pilgrims at Gurudwara Sacha Sauda and Gurudwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan.