India, Pakistan call truce over envoys

India, Pakistan call truce over envoys

SAM Report,

The protracted spat between India and Pakistan over harassment of respective diplomatic staff ended on Friday. Both sides will ensure safety of each other’s diplomats, families of diplomats and diplomatic premises, an official announcement said.

“India and Pakistan have mutually agreed to resolve matters related to the treatment of diplomats and diplomatic premises, in line with the 1992 “Code of Conduct for the treatment of diplomatic/consular personnel in India and Pakistan,” a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced. A similar announcement was made by the Pakistani side.

Flurry of note verbales

The decision comes as a relief for serving diplomats on both sides, who alleged for weeks that they were being harassed by security personnel in both Delhi and Islamabad by aggressive surveillance and stalking. During this period, India sent more than a dozen note verbales to Pakistan to uphold the principles enshrined in the Vienna Convention for protection of diplomats. Diplomatic sources indicated that the resolution will ensure that both sides will abide by globally accepted diplomatic protocols as well as bilateral understandings.

The exchange between the two countries became heated following daily incidents and at one point, Pakistan even recalled its envoy for ‘consultations’.

Evidence of stalking

The fight became intense after diplomats on both sides started recording acts of harassment on mobile phones, adding to the heated rhetoric.

However, High Commissioner of Pakistan Sohail Mahmood returned on March 22 to Delhi, a day before the national day celebrations were hosted in the High Commission premises.

The bilateral 1992 Code of Conduct urges both sides to “ensure dignity and personal inviolability of diplomatic/consular personnel of the Sending State and their families”.

This bilateral mechanism is a special instrument to ensure safety and security of Indian and Pakistani diplomats who have the critical responsibility of operating in hostile circumstances.