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India and Pakistan are accusing each other of harassing the diplomatic missions of their neighbouring countries

Pakistan, India in ding-dong duel

WT24 Desk

Pakistan officials say they received complaints that the doorbell of Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad JP Singh was rung at 3am this month. The Indians said they believe Pakistani security agents were responsible.

A few days later the doorbell of Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner in New Delhi Syed Haider Shah was rung at 3am, in what Pakistan believes was an act of retaliation.

“I cannot believe we have got to the stage where our officials are being followed and our doorbells are being rung,” one Pakistani official told The Financial Times. “It is very, very surprising and is not how diplomacy should be done.”

Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood said that tensions between the countries prevent solutions to such minor situations.

“Where exactly is the space for diplomacy to resolve disputes and rebuild trust?” he said.

According to New Delhi the latest issues arose over the raid and utility closure of a diplomatic residential compound being built by the Indian government in Islamabad. Pakistan says workers at the construction site did not have security clearance and that the issue has been resolved.

India has also said that its officials are under aggressive surveillance and that one diplomat’s home was broken into and a laptop stolen. Islamabad has not responded to the accusations.

Pakistan also says its officials have been harassed. It alleges that Indian authorities often tail and occasionally obstruct their cars, once while an official was taking their child to school.

The Indian foreign ministry says it is investigating the accusations. “India and Pakistan have been squeezing one another’s diplomats for decades,” said Shashank Joshi, a senior policy fellow at the Royal United Services Institute told the Financial Times. “It goes up and down, spiking during periods of political tension or tit-for-tat spirals after small incidents.”

“This certainly isn’t isolated to India and Pakistan,” he added, “but those two countries do have more manpower to devote to it.”

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