Guests invited to an Iftar party hosted by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were intimidated and “aggressively” turned away from the venue by Pakistani officials on Saturday evening, a top Indian diplomat said.
The Pakistani officials surrounded Hotel Serena, the venue of the Iftar party, and harassed hundreds of guests who had come to attend the function, news agency ANI reported. The guests were forced to leave the venue, the news agency reported quoting an unnamed source.
“We apologise to all our guests who were aggressively turned away from our Iftar yesterday. Such intimidatory tactics are deeply disappointing,” Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria said.
Mr Bisaria said such tactics are counter-productive for bilateral ties. “They not only violate basic norms of diplomatic conduct and civilised behaviour, they are counter-productive for our bilateral relations,” he said.
Some Pakistani officials reached out to the invitees from masked numbers and threatened them not to attend the Iftar, ANI reported.
This is not the first time that Indian officials had faced harassment in the neighbouring country. Last month, India had raised concerns after two diplomats who were facilitating the arrangements of Sikh pilgrims at Gurdwara Sacha Sauda Gurdwara near Lahore were locked up in a room for over 20 minutes. The diplomats were threatened and asked never come to the area again.
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.