In what exposes the malice of Pakistan, the Indian High Commission has lodged a strong protest against the “unprecedented level of harassment” meted out to the guests who were invited by the Indian High Commission for an Iftar party in Islamabad. High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria has reportedly asked the Islamic nation to “urgently investigate these ugly events” and share its results.
As per a statement by the Indian High Commission, the invitees to the Iftar party this Sunday faced major problems due to beefed up security and harassment of the invitees on one pretext or the other. The party was hosted by the Indian High Commissioner at Serena Hotel in Pakistan’s capital city. Guests were invited for the annual event from all over Pakistan.
— India in Pakistan (@IndiainPakistan) June 2, 2019
The PTI reported that those attending the event hosted by the Indian High Commission that additional security was deployed around the luxury hotel where the Iftar party was organised. The guests reached the venue from distant places in the country such as Karachi and Lahore. These guests were “intimidated and even physically stopped” from attending the event by the Pakistani security personnel. The press release by the Indian High Commission read, “The guests faced unprecedented harassment and intimidation at the hands of security agencies. A concerted campaign was launched by Pakistan’s security agencies in the days preceding the iftar function to reach out to the invitees to actively dissuade them from attending the event.”
As per reports, many guests from Pakistan’s diplomatic community were also harassed by Pakistani security personnel. As per the Indian High Commission, more than 300 Pakistani guests including top Parliamentarians, media personnel, retired military officials were prevented from attending the event. As per the Indian High Commission, “A large Pakistani security detachment, equipped with forked lifts, was detailed outside Serena hotel to aggressively turn away Pakistani citizens.”
An account of the ugly incident given by Mehreen Zaha-Malik reflects upon the apathy of the Pakistani security establishment. She tweeted, “Unprecedented level of harassment at @serena_hotels Islamabad. #India embassy iftaar happening & police & anti terrorism force misbehaving with anyone trying into get in the hotel. Got screamed at, my driver abused. Sorry, not being an entitled prick. This was genuine harassment.”
Unprecedented level of harassment at @serena_hotels Islamabad. #India embassy iftaar happening & police & anti terrorism force misbehaving with anyone trying into get in the hotel. Got screamed at, my driver abused. Sorry, not being an entitled prick. This was genuine harassment
— Mehreen Zahra-Malik (@mehreenzahra) June 1, 2019
This ugly incident comes just days after the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi where the leaders of BIMSTEC were invited. All of India’s neighbouring countries were also invited barring Pakistan. When BJP-led NDA stormed into power decimating the Congress back in 2014, all the heads of SAARC countries were invited including Pakistan. However, this time Pakistan was deliberately ignored after strained relations with India following Pakistan’s refusal to stop cross border terror activities. Pakistan’s harassment of guests at the Indian High Commission can be attributed to the country’s frustration at not being invited for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi.
The manner in which the Pakistani security establishment has behaved is a clear cut violation of diplomatic norms. And Pakistan must be made to pay heavy diplomatic costs for this. Its malicious behaviour cannot be taken lightly. The fact remains that Pakistan has no interest in keeping strong diplomatic relations with India. All that this country can do is foment terrorism and export it into neighbouring countries. However, India should make it clear that Pakistan should stop playing such dirty games. If the terrorist country wants to severe diplomatic relations, it must do so explicitly and pay the diplomatic costs for its unruly behaviour.