Top Indian diplomat harassed by ISI in Islamabad, govt registers protest

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NEW DELHI: Angered by India’s expulsion of two Pakistan officials earlier this week, Pakistan has ramped up harassment of Indian diplomats and officials in Islamabad, sources said.
On Thursday, Indian charge d’affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was tailed by ISI staff in an apparent bid to intimidate him. This followed other attempts to disrupt the functioning of the Indian high commission since May 31, the day Indian authorities detained two Pakistan officials on espionage charges.
India registered a strong protest with Pakistan later in the evening over aggressive tailing and intrusive surveillance. The government sees Pakistan’s action as violating the 1992 code of conduct for diplomats meant to ring fence diplomats from frequent strife in bilateral ties.
Islamabad had earlier summoned Ahluwalia to “condemn” India’s decision to expel Pakistan officials saying it violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Actions such as verbal and physical harassment, disconnecting of telephone lines, threatening telephone calls, pursuit in cars and unauthorised entry into residences shall not be resorted to.
Pakistan had in 2016 too expelled an Indian official after one of its officials here was held for espionage and declared persona non grata.
In a video made by Indian officials Thursday, a biker could be seen following Ahluwalia’s car. Several intelligence operatives, in cars and bikes, had also been stationed outside Ahluwalia’s home in what India saw as an attempt to intimidate.
“Pakistan wants tit-for-tat action but hasn’t been able to find any case for it. They are now looking to disrupt the activities of the Indian mission,” said a source. Pakistan media reported that Ahluwalia’s counterpart here Syed Haider Shah also had his car tailed.
India had earlier too said that Pakistan was preparing ground for retaliatory action by falsely claiming that Indian agencies had tortured the Pakistan officials who were declared persona non grata by the MEA. According to India, the 2 officials were caught red handed while indulging in espionage activities but they were never subjected to any torture.
Indo-Pak ties were strained by multiple cases of harassment of diplomats both here and in Islamabad in 2017-18 before the issue was finally resolved in keeping with the 1992 “Code of Conduct (CoC) for the treatment of diplomatic/consular personnel in India and Pakistan”.
The CoC says that the dignity and personal inviolability of diplomatic/ consular personnel of the Sending State and their families shall be guaranteed and fully respected by the Receiving State.
It also states that intrusive and aggressive surveillance and actions such as verbal and physical harassment, disconnecting of telephone lines, threatening telephone calls, pursuit in cars and unauthorised entry into residences shall not be resorted to.
Pakistan had in 2016 too expelled an Indian official after one of its officials here was held for espionage and declared persona non grata.

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