In a major breakthrough in the diplomat harassment row, India and Pakistan on Friday mutually agreed to resolve matters pertaining to the treatment of diplomats by both sides. As per a release by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the two countries would resolve the matters related to the treatment of diplomats and diplomatic premises, in line with the 1992 “Code of Conduct for the treatment of diplomatic/consular personnel in India and Pakistan.
According to the code of conduct, the two countries will ensure “smooth and unhindered functioning of their diplomatic and consular officials in conformity with recognised norms of international law and practice”. The two governments will also ensure that there is “no violation of the privileges and immunities of their diplomatic and consular officials” and there should be “no offences against their dignity and person”.
The diplomatic tension between the two countries broke out after Pakistan complained that its Deputy High Commissioner’s car was chased and his driver was abused by a group of men in Delhi. It also alleged that India had not taken measures to safeguard Pakistani diplomats and their families in India. Pakistan even threatened to pull its diplomats out of the capital if the “intimidation” did not stop.
In response to the allegations, India said that its officials in Islamabad were also subjected to increased hostility, harassment and intimidation. To make matters worse, Pakistan’s envoy to India Sohail Mahmood was called back to Islamabad. The MEA, however, then called it a routine affair. Mahmood, however, returned a week later on the eve of Pakistan’s National Day on March 23.
The two neighbours even exchanged notes verbale with one another on incidents of harassment and intimidation of officials and staff members of the High Commission by both sides.