While the current round of hostility between India and Pakistan has largely been attributed to the raid on an Indian residential complex in Islamabad, it might owe its genesis also to, as South Block sources told TOI, Pakistanâ€™s decision to block access to all Indian government websites (gov.in) in May 2017. Pakistan on Friday also pulled out of the WTO ministerial meeting which will be held in India next week.
Stating that the Indian government websites had opened only intermittently since then in Pakistan, official sources said as many as 5 note verbale (a form of diplomatic communication) had been issued to Pakistan to not block access to any Indian government website.
The first note verbale was issued on May 18 2007 and the latest one only earlier this week. According to Indian authorities, Pakistan has done this deliberately to not allow Indian diplomats and officials to access their own government websites. It, however, also meant that the Indian high commission was inundated with complaints from Pakistan nationals who said they were unable to access Indian visa forms.
“This has led to mushrooming of agents who have helped Pakistan nationals fill up visa forms through proxy servers,â€™â€™ said an official here, adding that this had also affected the normal functioning of the Indian mission.
Diplomatic sources said Pakistan has pulled out of the WTO ministerial meeting scheduled to take place here March 19-20 amid signs that the ongoing diplomatic standoff could worsen further. While the WTO meeting was always going to be a multilateral engagement, India’s decision to invite Pakistan commerce minister Pervaiz Malik for the event was seen as an outreach to Pakistan and a sign of a possible thaw in the relationship. Malik was earlier said to have confirmed his participation.