Diplo­matic row: In­dia, Pak bury hatchet

The Asian Age - - Front Page - SRIDHAR KUMARASWAMI and SHAFQAT ALI

In a huge diplo­matic break­through, both In­dia and Pak­istan jointly an­nounced late on Fri­day evening that they had agreed to re­solve the diplo­mat ha­rass­ment row that had been se­verely af­fect­ing bi­lat­eral ties.

In syn­chro­nised iden­ti­cal state­ments is­sued at the same time from both New Delhi by the MEA and Is­lam­abad by the Pak­istan For­eign Min­istry, the two sides said, “In­dia and Pak­istan have mu­tu­ally agreed to re­solve mat­ters re­lated to the treat­ment of diplo­mats and diplo­matic premises, in line with the 1992 ‘ Code of Con­duct for the treat­ment of diplo­matic/ con­sular per­son­nel in In­dia and Pak­istan’. The res­o­lu­tion comes as a glim­mer of hope that the two sides can work at re­pair­ing ties that have hit rock- bot­tom in the past two years.

This also comes in the wake of both coun­tries hav­ing al­leged re­cently

to the other that their diplo­mats were be­ing ha­rassed by the other side. The row was also re­solved af­ter both sides is­sued nu­mer­ous note ver­bales to each other.

The row had hit the head­lines ear­lier this month on March 11 af­ter the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment sources shared de­tails of the row with the Pak­istani me­dia. In­dia de­clined to go pub­lic on the spat but the In­dian gov­ern­ment sources had sub­se­quently said that In­dian diplo­mats had been fac­ing ha­rass­ment in Is­lam­abad for more than a year.

But there at were in­di­ca­tions the Pak­istan Na­tional Day cel­e­bra­tions on March 23 at the Pak­istan high com­mis­sion in New Delhi that mat­ters were mov­ing to­wards res­o­lu­tion. For one, the Pak­istan High Com­mis­sioner So­hail Mah­mood — who had been re­called about a week prior to the event to Is­lam­abad for con­sul­ta­tions — chose to re­turn to New Delhi to host the event. The sec­ond in­di­ca­tor was the pres­ence of a se­nior MEA of­fi­cial at the Pak­istan high com­mis­sion amid spec­u­la­tion that the two sides were en­gaged in se­ri­ous dis­cus­sions to sort out the row.

The last oc­ca­sion when any al­leged ha­rass­ment was re­ported was on March 22 when there were in­ci­dents of al­leged ha­rass­ment of In­dian diplo­mats in Is­lam­abad. But Pak­istani diplo­matic sources had main­tained their diplo­mats were be­ing ha­rassed too in New Delhi.

In­dian gov­ern­ment sources had said ear­lier this month that “ha­rass­ment is the new nor­mal for In­dian high com­mis­sion per­son­nel in Is­lam­abad” for the past more than one year, with the In­dian high com­mis­sioner lodg­ing a strong protest more than a month ago on Fe­bru­ary 16 with Is­lam­abad “against mul­ti­ple acts of hooli­gan­ism against In­dian prop­er­ties and per­son­nel”.

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