Monday, January 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Indian diplomat harassed in Pak
Don’t repeat such acts: Vajpayee

Islamabad, January 19
India’s senior diplomat in Pakistan complained today that his official car was repeatedly blocked by Pakistani intelligence vehicles when he was trying to drive to diplomatic functions at the weekend.

Sudhir Vyas, Charge d’Affaires at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, told Reuters he had lodged a formal complaint with the Foreign Ministry after being obstructed on three separate occasions yesterday and delayed for several hours.

Mr Vyas said his official car, carrying the Indian flag on its wing, was boxed in by several cars when he tried to leave his home for a lunch at the Malaysian High Commission and then again as he was trying to get to and return from a dinner at the Nepalese Embassy.

“The car was boxed in, and stopped repeatedly,” he said. ‘’I was one-and-a-half hours late for both engagements.”

Mr Vyas said he had said in his letter to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry that the treatment contravened the Vienna Convention and the bilateral code of conduct between states.

“I said this was unprecedented,’’ he said. ‘’You cannot prevent a diplomatic officer from exercising his diplomatic functions like this; you cannot mistreat the national flag of a mission accredited to your government,” he added.

The reported incidents came the same day as India test-fired a surface-to-air missile and a week after it tested a nuclear-capable Agni I missile that could strike almost any part of Pakistan.

Pakistan accused New Delhi of trying to whip up ‘’war hysteria’’ with the latest test.

Mr Vyas said he did not know if his treatment was connected to the test. “I will hesitate to speculate on the reason,’’ he said.

PORT BLAIR: Warning Pakistan not to repeat such acts, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Sunday condemned the ill- treatment meted out to the Indian diplomat in Islamabad and asked Pakistan to behave “to maintain proper diplomatic norms.”

“Our Charge d’ Affaires in Islamabad Sudhir Vyas’s car was stopped and he was not allowed to proceed. This kind of treatment is a basic violation of protocol,” the Prime Minister said.

Addressing a public meeting at the Netaji Stadium here, Mr Vajpayee charged Pakistan with continuing cross-border terrorism.

Sending a strong warning, the Prime Minister asked Pakistan not to repeat the mistake of Kargil. “If Pakistan does not behave well, we have to give a befitting reply. Our forces are ready and will deliver an effective blow if the situation does not change,” he said. Reuters, UNI


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