By Sajjad Hussain:
India seeks urgent probe into the matter
GUESTS invited to Indian High Commission’s Iftar party in Islamabad faced “unprecedented harassment and intimidation” due to enhanced security checks by the Pakistani officials who stopped some invitees on one pretext or other, the Indian mission said here on Sunday, as it strongly protested the “ugly” incident and sought “urgent” investigation into the matter. Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria hosted the annual event on Saturday at Serena Hotel for which guests were invited from all over Pakistan.
“The guests faced unprecedented harassment and intimidation at the hands of security agencies,” the Indian High Commission said in a statement. It said the guests who made to the venue from places as far as Lahore and Karachi were “intimidated and even physically stopped” from attending the party by Pakistani security forces, who had virtually laid the Serena hotel under siege.
“A concerted campaign was launched by Pakistan’s security agencies in the days preceding the Iftar function to reach out to the invitees to actively dissuade them from attending the event,” it said. The High Commission said security officials stationed on the main road outside the hotel “rudely rebuffed and intimidated” officers and diplomatic staff of the IHC who tried to ascertain from the security personnel the reason for the harassment of the guests.
“Some officials were jostled, pushed, abused and aggressively threatened with bodily harm. In some cases, mobile phone belonging to the officials were snatched away,” it said. Many guests from the Pakistan’s diplomatic community were also subjected to harassment. “In complete violation of diplomatic norms, a large Pakistani security detachment, equipped with forked lifts, was detailed outside Serena hotel to aggressively turn away Pakistani citizens,” the Indian mission said, adding that in some cases, cars used by guests were lifted and removed using forklifts.