ISLAMABAD: A day after rumours circulated that membership for a foreign envoy to one of the most prestigious clubs in the capital, the Islamabad Club, had been denied, the establishment on Friday clarified that they were still deliberating on the request.
Talking to The Express Tribune on Friday, the club’s management said they had received a request for membership from the Indian diplomat and that they had yet to take a decision on it with the request still ‘under process’.
Asked what was required, the club said that they were still waiting for clearance from the Ministry of Interior before approving the diplomat’s request.
“The membership has not been refused. Actually, we need a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the interior ministry to grant membership and currently the NOC is awaited,” an Islamabad Club official said.
The club official further said that the NOC was a routine matter and part of their internal workings.
Asked how long does it usually take for the ministry to issue an NOC and for the club to grant membership, the club’s management said that the timeframe varied from case to case.
The official, though, did not disclose when the diplomat had applied for the membership.
Meanwhile, sources at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad also confirmed to The Express Tribune that the high commissioner had applied for the club’s membership, as is normal practice, but his request had yet to be approved.
India had named Ajay Bisaria, a career diplomat with nearly 30 years in the field, as its new envoy to Pakistan in September 2017 as it announced plans to transfer the incumbent Gautam Bambawale to an assignment in China.
Bisaria arrived in Pakistan on December 12 and is believed to have applied for membership of the club soon after.
The membership is a routine matter for envoys and past high commissioners have all availed the membership.
The stall comes at a time of brewing conflict between Islamabad and New Delhi with frequent cross-border firing by India along the Line of Control causing heavy damage to life and property in Azad Kashmir.
The envoy has been summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a demarche at least seven times in February alone.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2018.