• Downgrades diplomatic relations with Pakistan
Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi
Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi

New Delhi. 23 June 2020. The news of the day emanated from the South Block in New Delhi. And this time not from the MOD but from the MEA. The Charge d’ Affaires of Pakistan was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and informed that India had repeatedly expressed concern about the activities of officials of his High Commission. They have been engaged in acts of espionage and maintained dealings with terrorist organizations. The activities of the two officials caught red-handed and expelled on 31 May 2020 was one example in that regard.

While their officials indulged in actions that are not in conformity with their privileged status in the High Commission, Pakistan has in parallel engaged in a sustained campaign to intimidate the officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad from carrying on their legitimate diplomatic functions. The recent abduction at gunpoint of two Indian officials and their severe ill treatment underlines the extent to which Pakistan has gone in that direction. These officials who have returned to India on 22 June 2020 have provided graphic details of the barbaric treatment that they experienced at the hands of Pakistani agencies.

The behaviour of Pakistan and its officials is not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials. On the contrary, it is an intrinsic element of a larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism.

Therefore, the Government of India has taken the decision to reduce the staff strength in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by 50%. It would reciprocally reduce its own presence in Islamabad to the same proportion. This decision, which is to be implemented in seven days, was conveyed to the Pakistani Charge d’Affaires.

The Pakistan government after long hours of discussion came out with a statement from its Foreign Office by the spokesperson Aisha Farooqui which said, “Pakistan completely dismisses allegations of any violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations by [Pakistan High Commission] officials in New Delhi and reiterates that they always function within the parameters of international law and diplomatic norms.”

The statement added that the FO also summoned India’s Chargé d’Affaires to inform him of Pakistan’s decision to reduce staff at the Indian High Commission by 50 percent as a “reciprocal measure” and was asked to implement the decision within seven days.

“The BJP government must realise that its irresponsible policies and unilateral actions are increasingly imperiling peace and security in the region. India must act responsibly in the interest of regional peace and stability,” the FO spokesperson said. Well one can only say look who is talking, at this childish statement made by Pakistan to please its internal audience.