Indian embassy in Pak protests ‘harassment’ of guests, diplomats at Iftar event

The unpleasant event may affect the bilateral ties between both the countries. PTI photo

The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has protested and sought an investigation into the manhandling of diplomatic officials and intimidation of guests invited to an Iftar party hosted by Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, by Pakistani security forces, at the Hotel Serena on Saturday (June 1).

An official release dated June 2, stated that Pakistani security forces harassed and intimidated guests not only by physically stopping them from attending the event, but also using forklifts to tow the cars of those who had reached the venue. More than three hundred Pakistani guests were turned away including parliamentarians, government officials, media representatives, retired military persons, businessmen and retired diplomats, the release said.

Calling the action “gross”, the release stated that a concerted campaign was launched by the agencies in the days preceding the Iftar function to dissuade the invitees from attending it.

“Those guests who did reach the function venue, in some cases from places as far as Lahore and Karachi, were intimidated and physically stopped from attending the Iftar function by Pakistani security forces, who had virtually laid the Serena hotel under siege,” the release stated.

The letter said security forces stationed at the main road outside the venue misbehaved and intimidated diplomatic staff when they tried to know the reasons for the harassment of guests.

“Some officials were jostled, pushed, abused and aggressively threatened with bodily harm. In some cases, mobile phones belonging to officials were snatched away,” the release said.

The release stated that the High Commission has urged the Pakistan government to investigate into the matter and ensure that diplomats and officials of the Indian High Commission are allowed to discharge their diplomatic functions without fear of coercion or harassment.

Speaking to the media earlier in the day, Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Ajay Bisaria had expressed his disappointment over the chain of events and said that such behaviour not only violate basic norms of diplomatic conduct, but are also counter-productive for the bilateral ties between the two countries.