Pakistan dropped out of India's WTO meeting says sources

Syed Haider Shah

Syed Haider Shah

"On March 18, the Second Secretary at the High Commission was aggressively followed by unidentified people in a vehicle, in close proximity, in an intimidating manner, while he was going to the Chhaye Khana restaurant", said a source, hinting at the content of the diplomatic note.

Pakistan has chose to stay away from the World Trade Organisation's ministerial meet to be held in New Delhi on March 19-20 in protest against alleged harassment of its diplomats in India.

Pakistan's decision to stay away from the WTO meeting coincides with Islamabad calling its high commissioner to India Sohail Mehmood "for consultations" after alleged "harassment" of Pakistani diplomats.

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However, matters started to worsen once again as incidents of harassment and heckling of Pakistani diplomats and their families stationed in New Delhi began coming to light.

India has invited trade ministers of over 50 nations, including the USA and China, to discuss key issues related areas such as agriculture and services.

"Harassment is the new normal for Indian high commission personnel in Islamabad", a source was quoted as saying.

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Pakistan had initially accepted the invitation, but sources in Pakistan foreign ministry said the situation has changed after "repeated harassment of families of diplomats" and it was chose to skip the invitation, reported Business Standard (BS).

Official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar, said such consultation between a country's embassy and foreign office are routine processes and there is nothing unusual in this.

Yesterday also, India had sent a Note Verbale to Pakistan through its high commission and in the communication, it had specifically mentioned two incidents of harassment - one yesterday and the other on March 15. The officer added that Pakistan may withdraw the families of diplomatic staff from India, if relations didn't improve. The official defended the move, asserting that current situations it was not possible for the high commissioner to operate out of New Delhi.

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Then there were complaints that power supply and gas was being shut to a residential complex in Islamabad for Indian diplomats, followed by door bells being rung late at night.

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