Rivalry between India and  Pakistan sometimes gets un-neighborly. Illustration: iStock
Illustration: iStock

A new row has erupted between India and Pakistan, this time over harassment of their respective diplomats. In the latest blow, Pakistan has released a video of a diplomat’s car being blocked – allegedly deliberately – by an exceptionally slow-moving car on a main road in New Delhi.

The Pakistani diplomat’s car was also followed by two men on a scooter. The video, shot by the diplomat, was aired on several Pakistani television news channels.

Officials of the Pakistani High Commission claimed that the “harassment” was carried out by Indian security and intelligence agencies.

The spat over alleged official disrespect started with Pakistan accusing India of harassing its diplomats. Official notes were sent to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi last week, according to Pakistani media.

Diplomatic sources told the Dawn newspaper that children of Pakistani diplomats had been stopped and harassed on their way to school in India. Alleged incidents also include blocking and searching of diplomatic vehicles and diplomats’ staff being abused.

The Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi detailed the allegations in four notes written last week to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian Express reported.

The four notes verbales – diplomatic exchanges – allege as many as 18 incidents of “harassment and intimidation” of diplomats and their supporting staff. Pakistan also threatened to bring back its diplomats and their families if the harassment didn’t stop.

On the other hand, officials at the Indian External Affairs Ministry have also accused Pakistan of harassing Indian diplomats, according to Indian media reports. One official was quoted as saying, “Aggressive surveillance, violation of physical space and tailing of [Indian] officers in close and dangerous proximity is a perennial issue” inside Pakistan.

The official also said Pakistani agencies had raided the Indian High Commission’s residential complex in Islamabad and disconnected the power and water supplies. This happened even after a repeated request by India to Pakistan that the two countries ensure a safe working environment for their respective High Commissions.

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