"Against Civilized Behaviour": India Slams Pakistan Over Iftar Chaos

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi were among those invited but both opted to skip the event; other invitees included politicians, community leaders, heads of Sufi shrines, academics, writers and civil society activists

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Pakistani officials surrounded Hotel Serena, the venue of the Iftar party, and forced guests to turn back


New Delhi: 

The government on Sunday issued a strongly-worded statement to protest the "gross intimidation of guests" called to an Iftar event in Islamabad on Saturday. A letter released by the High Commission of India criticised "a concerted campaign... by Pakistan's security agencies" that prevented the commission from hosting the evening fast-breaking meal and said it was in violation of "basic norms of diplomatic conduct" and "all notions of civilized behaviour".

The letter also called on 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," the letter read.

In video footage of the incident, Pakistan's security forces can be seen stopping and turning away a black sedan and aggressively confronting guests.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi were among those invited but both leaders opted to skip the event. Other invitees included politicians, community leaders, heads of Sufi shrines, academics, writers and civil society activists.

In the letter the High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, also said "intimidation and coercion is entirely counter-productive for our bilateral relationship".

On Saturday evening, Pakistani officials had surrounded Hotel Serena, the venue of the party, and forced hundreds of guests to turn back. It was also not the first time Indian officials had faced harassment in the neighbouring country.

Last month, India had raised concerns after two diplomats who were 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 to the area.

Earlier this week, the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi also hosted an Iftar dinner, where several public personalities including writers, artists and Pakistani students had attended.

With input from IANS



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