Pakistan on Thursday said that the issue of “harassment” of diplomats with India had been successfully resolved through talks.
Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal termed it a “success of diplomacy” though he did not provide any details about how the two sides addressed the issue.
“The issue of harassment of diplomats has been resolved through negotiations between Foreign offices and diplomatic missions of the both countries. It is a success of formal diplomacy,” Mohammad Faisal said.
India and Pakistan announced in March that they had agreed to mutually resolve all issues about the treatment of diplomats.
The agreement followed claims and counter-claims by the two countries about harassment of each other’s diplomats.
India had asked Pakistan to ensure safety and security of its officials working at the Indian mission in Islamabad, saying they continue to face ‘harassment’ and ‘intimidation’.
Pakistan had claimed that there had been as many as 26 instances of harassment and intimidation of its diplomats since March 7, following which Islamabad called back its high commissioner Sohail Mahmood for discussions on the issue. He, however, returned to New Delhi on March 22.
Faisal also said Pakistan repatriated an Indian prisoner Jetindaera Arjanwaran who was handed over to Indian officials at Wagah border today.
He said Arjanwaran who was suffering from a debilitating blood disease had completed his sentence in Pakistan. He was apprehended by the Pakistani security agencies in 2014 under the Foreigners Act and was sentenced to a one-year imprisonment, Faisal said.
Faisal said his sentence had ended in July 2014 but his national status was not confirmed by the Indian High Commission until April 4, 2018.
“Jetindaera’s case for the repatriation was favourably considered by Pakistan, due to his deteriorating medical condition and he was repatriated,” he said, adding that Shahzad Roy, a social activist and a known singer, had played a key role in his release.
Faisal said that Track-II initiatives do take place from time to time and usually former ambassadors, retired government officials, journalists and the people from academia of both countries take part, but they do not have any link with the formal dialogue.
Talking about exchange of prisoners, he said Pakistan concurred with the Indian humanitarian proposal regarding exchange of lists of prisoners above 70 years of age, women and mentally challenged persons.
He said Pakistan also proposed exchanging lists of children below 18 years and prisoners below 60 years.
“Both countries are actively pursuing this matter and hopefully something good will come out soon,” he said.
Faisal also said the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) had Agreement on Conducting Joint Anti-Terrorist Military Exercises among the member states to which both Pakistan and India acceded at the time of joining the Organization in June 2017.
“The exercise ‘Peace Mission 2018’ is being hosted by Russia under this Agreement. We are prepared to share our experiences with other SCO member states and work together against this common enemy. We hope that SCO will provide an opportunity for both countries to interact for peace and security in the region,” he said.
He said that a committee constituted at the end of 2015 and headed by Sartaj Aziz presented its final recommendations last year about Gilgit Baltistan reforms.
The Committee’s report is in its final phase and its “comprehensive recommendations” on implementation would address most, if not all, the desires of the people of Gilgit Baltistan, he said.
(With PTI inputs)