Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: India says diplomats, embassy guests harassed by Pakistani security in Islamabad

India accused Pakistani security services of widespread harassment at an Indian embassy event in the capital Islamabad a day earlier, alleging that hundreds of guests were turned away and some of New Delhi’s diplomats were “threatened”. Guests arriving for a dinner at the luxury Serena Hotel in Islamabad faced “unprecedented harassment and intimidation” at the hands of Pakistani security agencies that even used a forklift truck to remove the cars of some attendees, according to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. India said about 300 guests were turned away from attending Saturday’s iftar dinner at the hotel, where many embassies host such functions during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims break their day-long fast at sunset with an iftar meal. The Indian High Commission, asking Pakistan to investigate, said some of its officials and diplomats were “jostled, pushed, abused, aggressively threatened with bodily harm” and in some cases had their phones snatched by Pakistani security officials. “The disappointing chain of events on June 1 not only violate basic norms of diplomatic conduct but are against all notions of civilized behavior,” the Indian High Commission said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-india/india-says-diplomats-embassy-guests-harassed-by-pakistani-security-in-islamabad-idUSKCN1T30J4) Pakistan’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But India’s allegations follow similar complaints by Pakistan about the way Indian security forces behaved outside Pakistan National Day celebrations at the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi in March.


Newsline: India returns key diplomat to Pakistan as tensions ease

India said on Mar. 9 that it was returning a key diplomat to Pakistan’s capital amid an easing of tensions between the nuclear neighbors, but also demanded that its archrival take concrete steps against terrorists operating from its territory. India’s high commissioner to Pakistan was to return to Islamabad on Saturday, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said at a news briefing. Pakistan had announced earlier in the week that its high commissioner to India was returning to New Delhi. (https://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/India-asks-Pakistan-for-concrete-crackdown-on-13675466.php) The moves come after the two countries recalled their diplomats for consultations as tensions flared after a Feb. 14 suicide attack on a convoy of Indian paramilitary soldiers in the Indian-held portion Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers.

Newsline: US consulate lodges forgery complaint in India

The US consulate lodged a complaint, accusing three persons of forging documents to secure a US visa. The consulate had lodged one complaint on Mar. 6, accusing Kanahiya Patel and Bhavna Patel of Mehsana of forging documents. While Kanahiya was arrested, Bhavna is still on the run. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/us-consulate-lodges-forgery-complaint-against-three/articleshow/68326566.cms) She had allegedly approached the US consulate for an interview to obtain a US visa, using forged documents, according to the complaint filed by the consulate’s representative, Brendon Shaw.

Newsline: US embassy looking into reports that Pakistan F-16s were used to shoot down Indian jet

The United States Embassy in Islamabad is looking into reports that Pakistan used U.S.-built F-16 jets to shoot down an Indian warplane, a spokesperson for the embassy said on Mar. 3. “We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” the spokesperson said, according to Reuters. “We take all allegations of misuse of defense articles very seriously.” (https://thehill.com/policy/defense/432376-us-embassy-looking-into-reports-that-pakistan-f-16-were-used-to-shoot-down) Using the F-16 jets to shoot down an Indian warplane would potentially be a violation of U.S. agreements, according to Reuters. The reports come after Pakistan and India exchanged multiple airstrikes. India on Feb. 26 ordered an airstrike over the disputed Kashmir region, targeting the Jaish-e-Mohammed group of fighters. That airstrike came in response to a car bombing in February that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir. On Feb. 27, Pakistan and India each said they had shot down each other’s warplanes and Pakistan captured an Indian pilot. Pakistan later returned the pilot to India, and tensions between the countries appeared to deescalate.

Newsline: India refuses visas to Pakistani pilgrims for visiting

Pakistan’s Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sahibzada Noor Al Haq Qadri said on Mar. 4 that India has refused to issue visas to Pakistani pilgrims for attending the forthcoming Urs of Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti being held in Ajmer shrine, India this month. (https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/india-refuses-visas-to-pakistani-pilgrims-for-visiting-moinuddin-chishtis-shrine-in-ajmer-pakistan-minister-1.1551714475561) In a statement, the minister said the Indian embassy in Islamabad has informed the ministry via telephone about refusal of visas. The ministry has conveyed the pilgrims through Short Messaging Services (SMS) on mobile telephone.

Newsline: Pakistani ambassador calls on U.S. to help defuse India standoff

Pakistan’s envoy to Washington called for more “active involvement” from the United States to help defuse simmering tensions with India, claiming a lack of condemnation of India’s airstrikes may have “emboldened” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to escalate a burgeoning crisis. (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pakistani-ambassador-calls-on-u-s-to-help-defuse-india-standoff/) “We would certainly like to have more, and would certainly like to see more active involvement of the United States” in addressing the standoff, said Ambassador Asad Khan, who spoke to reporters at the Pakistani embassy on Wednesday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is in Vietnam as President Trump holds his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said in a statement issued Tuesday that he had spoken to his counterparts in India and Pakistan. Pompeo said he encouraged the two sides to “avoid escalation at any cost,” and urged the latter to take “meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil.”

Newsline: Pakistan Summons India’s Diplomat Over Airstrike

Pakistan’s foreign ministry has summoned India’s top diplomat in Islamabad to protest the pre-dawn airstrike by India on Pakistani territory. Pakistan says there were no casualties in the strike, while India says it hit a terrorist training camp and killed a “very large number” of militants early on Feb. 26. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/23/business/cell-phone-addiction.html) The ministry says the “Indian aggression was a threat to regional peace and stability and would get a befitting response by Pakistan at a time and place of its choosing.”