India and Pakistan were on Monday embroiled in a fresh spat over the treatment of their diplomats, with people familiar with developments saying Pakistani security personnel had behaved “aggressively” with the Indian envoy and his deputy in Islamabad.
The Indian high commission in Islamabad submitted a formal protest to Pakistan’s Foreign Office on January 10 about the behaviour of a Pakistani security official towards the country’s envoy and attempts to hack the social media accounts of two second secretaries, the people said.
The Indian mission had formally complained on two occasions last month to Pakistan’s foreign ministry about power supply being deliberately cut at the home of a second secretary.
On Sunday, Pakistan had formally protested to India about an official from its high commission in New Delhi being held at a police station for several hours after a woman alleged he behaved inappropriately with her at a market.
The official, an assistant to the Pakistani naval attaché, was at Sarojini Nagar market when he was involved in an altercation with the woman, who made a complaint at the nearby police station. Following this, the Pakistani official apologised in writing and the matter was closed.
Delhi Police officials denied reports the Pakistani official was arrested or detained. However, Islamabad was upset as the official was held for several hours at the police station even after he identified himself as a staffer of the high commission, a person said.
In its protest to Pakistan’s foreign ministry, India said a Pakistani security official had “closely followed and aggressively kept watch” on the Indian high commissioner and deputy high commissioner while they were attending a wedding reception at a hotel in Islamabad on December 4.
The Indian side also complained about attempts to hack the social media account of a second secretary. One instance of hacking involved a fake profile similar to that of one of his relatives, people familiar with developments said.
The other second secretary received an email from Facebook that repeated attempts were made by unknown people to log in to his account, the people said.
The Indian side informed Pakistan that such “incidents of aggressive surveillance, violation of privacy and harassment” amounted to a breach of the understanding reached by the two sides in March last year to treat their diplomats in line with a 1992 code of conduct.
Former diplomat Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, who served as India’s last consul general in Karachi, “This is kind of routine whenever relations take a downturn, to have Pakistani security personnel following and harassing Indian diplomats. It also conveys a sense of what the relations are like.”