Diplomatic standoff: Envoy 'won't return to India till ties improve'

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Diplomatic standoff: Envoy 'won't return to India till ties improve'

India had invited Pakistani Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik to attend the mini-ministerial gathering last month. In the meantime, Pakistan is considering choices to deal the situation aftermath calling back of its High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood from New Delhi due to alleged harassment of diplomats in India.

"We can not send our commerce minister to India in the current situation and India has been informed about it", as per a source.

However, New Delhi did not fail to bring to attention that Pakistan was allegedly responsible for carrying out an equivalent campaign of harassment against its own diplomats posted in Islamabad, accusing Pakistani intelligence agents for having entered the embassy's residential compound.

Pakistan said it has called home its envoy Sohail Mahmood for consultations after repeated incidents of "harassment" of its diplomatic staff in New Delhi. He added that despite identifying the miscreants and bringing them to the notice of senior officials in India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), "no positive action has been taken from the Indian side so far".

Trade ministers of over 50 nations including the US, China and Pakistan were invited by India to discuss issues related to agriculture and services. "A decision to how to address the situation will be made after the consultations", sources said.

However, the officials said that the decision to send back Mehmood for an indefinite period is yet not confirmed as talks were on the table for declaring New Delhi as a non-family station.

Children of Indian diplomats are not permitted by the Indian government to study in schools in Pakistan.

While an Indian official was quoted saying, "It was Pakistan's decision to pull out at the last minute, and the Indian side could not comment on it". "In other words, Pakistan recalled its envoy to New Delhi as a protest till the situation improves". The official defended the move, asserting that current situations it was not possible for the high commissioner to operate out of New Delhi.

Indian officials said that the standoff was months old, when in May past year, Pakistani government "intermittently blocked Indian government websites in Pakistan" and "visa seekers faced trouble".

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