Pakistan, India agree to end envoys harassment

Vinayak Bhat  ThePrint

Vinayak Bhat ThePrint

The 1992 Code provides for "smooth and unhindered functioning of their diplomatic and consular officials in conformity with recognised norms of global law and practice".

In synchronised identical statements issued at the same time from both New Delhi by the MEA and Islamabad by the Pakistan Foreign Ministry, the two sides 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".

"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 treatment of Diplomatic/Consular personnel in India and Pakistan", the MEA said in the statement. Faisal had said yesterday at a press briefing that the two sides would address the issue of harassment of diplomats through talks. The Foreign Office of Pakistan made a similar announcement in Islamabad. Under the bilateral agreement, the two governments will also have to ensure that there is "no violation of the privileges and immunities of their diplomatic and consular officials" and there are "no offences against their dignity and person".

On March 13, the foreign office had shared that the officers and families of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were facing harassment, intimidation and "outright violence" from the Indian state agencies. It next attempted to escalate the issue by declaring that it was summoning High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood for consultations in light of these incidents.

The discussions on addressing each other's complaints had significantly progressed when High Commissioner Mahmood last week returned to New Delhi.

"Both Pakistan and India need to take more steps to remove non-tariff barriers that are a major impediment to bilateral trade relations". India though did issue a note verbale to Pakistan earlier this week and sources here said there were still "minor" cases of tailing of Indian staff taking place in Islamabad.

"The Chambers of Commerce & Industry of both countries are the most important lobby as not only they can play an instrumental role in strengthening mutual trade and economic ties but they can also influence the policy makers", the Indian high commissioner said.

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