New Delhi: The government on Sunday issued a strong statement over the “gross intimidation” of guests invited to an iftar in Islamabad on Sunday.
A statement issued by the Indian High Commission read: “The disappointing chain of events of June 1 not only violate basic norms of diplomat conduct but are against all norms of civilised behaviour. Some Indian officials were jostled, pushed, abused and aggressively threatened with bodily harm. In some cases, mobile phones belonging to officials were snatched away.”
It also stated: "Many guests from the diplomatic community based in Islamabad were also subjected to harassment. In complete violation of diplomatic norms, a large Pakistani security detachment, equipped with fork lifts, was detailed outside Serena hotel to aggressively turn away Pakistani citizens."
Among the people stopped from attending the Indian envoy’s iftar was former chief Pakistani military spokesman Maj Gen (retired) Athar Abbas. Former presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar tweeted about the harassment and hurdles he faced in accessing the venue.
Indian envoy Bisaria said: “We apologise to all our guests who were aggressively turned away from our iftar yesterday. Such intimidatory tactics are deeply disappointing.”
The letter also called on the government of Pakistan to "urgently investigate these ugly events" and share the results of the investigation with the High Commission.
The row comes against the backdrop of heightened tensions following the suicide attack by the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pulwama on February 14 that killed 40 CRPF soldiers and the subsequent Indian air strike on Balakot on February 26.
It also comes days ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan where PM Narendra Modi is expected to come face to face with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan.