Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Pakistan

Newsline: Pakistan summons Afghan, Indian diplomats

Pakistan has summoned diplomats from Afghanistan and India after several shooting incidents along two different borders killed four Pakistani soldiers and a civilian woman. Accusations of firing by both sides across the Afghan-Pakistani border, and by both Indian and Pakistani forces across an old ceasefire line dividing their areas in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir are common. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-afghanistan-india/pakistan-summons-afghan-indian-diplomats-after-soldiers-civilian-killed-idUSKBN1W004J) The latest incidents come at an especially tense time between Pakistan and India, and as talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban have broken down. Pakistan’s Foreign Office summoned an Afghan diplomat to account for what it said was firing into Pakistan by militants in Afghanistan, a spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement. The militants shot and killed a Pakistani soldier on patrol in one incident late on Friday. In a second incident, Pakistani forces fencing a section of the border were attacked and three were killed, the ministry said on Saturday. Both incidents occurred in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

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Newsline: London Mayor slammed for filth outside Indian embassy

Noted British columnist Katie Hopkins slammed London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the London administration over the mess that was created outside the Indian embassy following protests by Pakistanis. On Tuesday, thousands of people led by British-Pakistani groups held a protest outside the Indian embassy in London against the withdrawal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The violent protesters threw eggs at the building and also damaged the premises of the embassy. Days later, Katie Hopkins released two videos on Twitter in which she can be seen walking outside the Indian embassy, the gates of which are covered with eggs and other garbage. In her tweet, Hopkins has written, “The Indian Embassy in London – one of our greatest allies – is a filthy mess of eggs and vandalised windows at the hands of Pakistani protesters in the UK. Is the Muslim Mayor of London enabling this behaviour? Why has this not been cleaned up? Deeply shaming for Britain.” (https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/katie-hopkins-slams-london-mayor-for-filth-outside-indian-embassy-1596225-2019-09-06) She squarely blamed Pakistan-origin London Mayor Sadiq Khan for the filth outside the embassy. Condemning the vandalism and protests, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India considered these incidents to be “unacceptable” and have strongly urged the UK to take necessary steps to ensure normal functioning of the Mission and the safety and security of the personnel working at the mission. Sadiq Khan termed the clashes as unacceptable behaviour and called on the police to take action against the perpetrators.

Newsline: Morocco’s embassy in Pakistan rejects allegations on «abusing diplomatic immunity»

After it was accused of having allegedly «abused immunity», the Moroccan embassy in Islamabad issued a communiqué, refuting the allegations. «The Embassy categorically denies information», suggesting that it would have imported «26 tons of merchandise», the press release stressed. The diplomatic mission also rejected reports, saying that «the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not have authorized the import of this cargo and that it can, upon gathering the necessary data, investigate the matter». «Duty-free imports require contacting the Protocol Department of the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan», which did not happen, according to the Moroccan embassy. «We have formally contacted the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clarify this and put an end to these allegations», the same source added. (https://en.yabiladi.com/articles/details/82637/morocco-s-embassy-pakistan-rejects-allegations.html) Pikistan Today reported that the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Pakistani Customs Administration, is seeking information on a significant number of tax-exempt items that the Moroccan embassy in the country has purchased. The newspaper said that the Moroccan embassy in Islamabad would have said it had not ordered nor imported such a cargo, while claiming to follow the case since the Kingdom’s ambassador himself would have demanded an investigation.

Newsline: Pakistan downgrades ties with India

Pakistan has announced plans to expel India’s top diplomat and suspend trade with its neighbour, deepening a row between the countries over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Indian-administered Kashmir has been on lockdown since the Indian government decided on Monday to strip the region of its special constitutional status. Phone networks and the internet have been cut off since Sunday evening. Pakistan is expelling India’s high commissioner (the equivalent of an ambassador) from Islamabad. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s newly-appointed envoy, Moin-ul-Haq, was yet to start his role but now will not move to Delhi. Prime Minister Imran Khan has “directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to expose [the] brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations”, a Pakistani government statement said. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49267912) He also directed the armed forces to remain vigilant.

Newsline: Pakistan says will expel Indian ambassador as Kashmir dispute grows

Pakistan said on Wednesday it would expel India’s ambassador and suspend bilateral trade with its arch-rival after New Delhi stripped its portion of the contested Kashmir region of special status. Neighbors China and Pakistan, which both claim parts of the region, have voiced fierce opposition to India’s move dropping a constitutional provision that had allowed the country’s only Muslim-majority state to make its own laws. Moin-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s newly-appointed ambassador to India, had yet to take up his post but will now not move to New Delhi, while Indian Ambassador Ajay Bisaria will be expelled, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a telephone interview with Pakistani TV channel ARY News. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-kashmir-pakistan/pakistan-says-will-expel-indian-ambassador-as-kashmir-dispute-grows-idUSKCN1UX1KT?il=0) “It is very obvious that our ambassador wouldn’t be in Delhi, and obviously the man who is here will also leave,” Qureshi said.

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: Top Pakistani official called ambassador “little pygmy”

A top Pakistani official just called the US ambassador to Afghanistan a “little pygmy” on Twitter. Her angry words, in this case, are more than just an insult: They have the potential to upend the Trump administration’s delicate, years-long efforts to reach a peace deal in Afghanistan that would it allow it to withdraw troops after nearly 20 years of war. Here’s what happened: John Bass, America’s top diplomat in Afghanistan, tweeted directly at Pakistan’s new prime minister and former cricket star, Imran Khan, over a controversial statement he made about Afghanistan’s government. “Some aspects of #cricket apply well in diplomacy, some do not,” he wrote, adding that it’s “important to resist temptation to ball-tamper with the #Afghanistan peace process and its internal affairs.” (https://www.vox.com/world/2019/3/27/18284293/pakistan-bass-imran-khan-mazari-afghanistan-diplomat) Khan has yet to respond to Bass’s tweet, but Shireen Mazari, Pakistan’s human rights minister, had some choice words for the US envoy, called him a “little pygmy”. If you’re thinking “surely she will retract that” — no such luck. In response to criticism on Twitter, she sent out another zinger: “But seriously what diplomatic norms? US dips have been violating them all day today from Zalmay to this moron!”