Pakistan’s diplomat to India Sohail Mahmood, who was called back to Islamabad last week for a meeting to discuss diplomatic tensions with India, is likely to return to New Delhi today.
Mehmood is expected to host a ‘Pakistan National Day’ event at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi tomorrow.
Last week, Pakistani media reports said Mahmood was unlikely to return to India any time soon. He won’t return “until Indian secret agencies stop harassing …(Pakistani) diplomatic staff and their families”, a Pakistan foreign ministry source told The Express Tribune.
Both India and Pakistan have accused each other of harassing one other’s diplomats and making it difficult to work or even live quietly.
India holds Pakistan responsible for the bitterness in ties and its litany of complaints goes well back into 2017 or May 2017 to be particular when Pakistan, according to Indian authorities, started blocking access to Indian government websites. Pakistan has accused India of jeopardising the relationship for “short term tactical gains’’ suggesting the recent hostility was initiated by India to mar any probability of a thaw in the relationship.
Diplomatic tensions between the two countries intensified earlier this week with Islamabad protesting against the denial of visas to over 500 pilgrims searching to visit Ajmer Sharif, and India saying “prevailing circumstances” and absence of security clearances were the reasons for its decision.
While not denying that visas had been withheld, an official source said, “Such visits are facilitated and promoted following due procedures. However, from time to time, such visits cannot take place in view of prevailing circumstances and absence of security clearances. There have been instances in the past when such visits did not take place from both sides.”
The Pakistan foreign office said, “Pakistan notes with deep disappointment the non-issuance of visas by India for the visit of 503 Pakistani zaireen (pilgrims) to participate in the urs of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer Sharif, India, from 19-29 March 2018.”