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India slams Pakistan for intimidating guests at embassy event

June 4, 2019

The government of India has issued a strong statement against the intimidation of guests called to an Iftar event hosted by the Indian embassy in Islamabad over the weekend. In a letter, the High Commission of India criticised "a concerted campaign... by Pakistan's security agencies" that prevented the commission from hosting the fast-breaking meal. It has called this a violation of "basic norms of diplomatic conduct" and "all notions of civilized behaviour".

The letter has asked the government of Pakistan to "urgently investigate these ugly events" and share the results of the investigation with the High Commission.

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. - Ajay Bisaria, High Commissioner of India to Pakistan

Video footage of the incident clearly shows Pakistan's security forces stopping and turning away a black car and confronting guests in an aggressive manner.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi were invited but did not attend the event. Others who were invited included politicians, community leaders, academics, etc.

Pakistani officials surrounded Hotel Serena, where the party was being hosted, and forced hundreds of guests to turn back. This is not the first such incident. Last month, two Indian diplomats coordinating Sikh pilgrims at Gurdwara Sacha Sauda Gurdwara near Lahore were locked up in a room for over 20 minutes. The diplomats were threatened and told never return.

Earlier this week, the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi hosted an Iftar dinner, where many people were invited.

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