ISLAMABAD: In a major step that may help arrest current slide in bilateral ties of the two nuclear armed neighbours, Pakistan and India on Friday agreed to address through talks the issue of harassment of the diplomats stationed in each other’s country.
The development has come as a result of back channel diplomacy between the two states to avoid the situation from getting out of control. Both New Delhi and Islamabad issued a simultaneous statement suggesting an agreement on matters related to the treatment of diplomats and diplomatic premises.
“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,” said a statement issued by the foreign office.
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The similar statement also released by the Indian External Affairs Minister in New Delhi.
The agreement to address each other’s complaints over the harassment of diplomats was reached after quiet talks between Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and the Indian high commissioner in Islamabad.
Relations between Pakistan and India have been tense for months due to the frequent border clashes between the troops deployed along the Line of Control and working boundary.
The ties deteriorated further after Pakistan accused Indian secret agencies of harassing its diplomatic staff and their families including children. Pakistan said there had been at least 26 instances when Indian secret agencies harassed and intimidated Pakistani diplomatic staff and their families in New Delhi.
Islamabad as a protest recalled its high commissioner to New Delhi for consultations. Initially, Pakistan decided not to send its envoy back but later changed its decision after India agreed to address its concerns on the issue.
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India, meanwhile, had its own list of complaints against Pakistan. It claimed that its diplomatic staff was also being mistreated in Islamabad. But before the situation got worse, the two sides activated diplomatic channels to resolve the issue through talks.
The 1992 Accord provides a comprehensive code of conduct for the treatment of diplomats and other staff posted in New Delhi and Islamabad.
The code of conduct envisages that both sides ensure safety and security of diplomats and shall not resort to intrusive and aggressive surveillance as well as harassment of diplomats and other staff.
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