New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) In an escalation of the diplomatic row, India on Wednesday summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit over the “discourtesy” shown to New Delhi’s top diplomat in Islamabad, Gautam Bambawale.
Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Amar Sinha summoned Basit and “conveyed the concern of the government of India … on the discourtesy (shown) to the Indian High Commissioner”, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
Swarup said Basit was told that India hoped its diplomats in Pakistan would be allowed “to discharge their normal functions without hindrance”.
Basit’s summoning took place a day after a meeting in Karachi, which Bambawale was to address, was cancelled an hour before it was to start.
Bambawale was invited to address the Karachi Chambers of Commerce. He had accepted the invite last week and was already in the port city. But the event was cancelled at the last minute and the Indian envoy was informed only an hour before it would have taken place.
The event organizers cited no reason for the cancellation. But apparently, it was cancelled because Bambawale had made some harsh comments on Monday over Pakistan’s alleged involvement in the Kashmir trouble and its attempts to internationalize the Kashmir issue.
The Indian envoy had asked Pakistan to focus on resolving its problems before looking into the problems of other countries.
He had also called for improved commercial ties between Pakistan and India that he said was a “low hanging” fruit for the two countries to benefit from as other issues between them will take time to resolve.
Bilateral ties between India and Pakistan soured after the January 2 terror attack on the Pathankot air base, which India has blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed terrorists. Ties deteriorated further after Pakistan eulogized slain Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Wani as a “martyr” who died fight for “freedom” of Jammu and Kashmir.
Islamabad has openly supported the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir Valley triggered by the July 8 killing of Wani. India has accused Pakistan of stoking the unrest that has claimed the lives of at least 76 people and left thousands injured.