NEW DELHI — Indian High Commission staff in Pakistan are being subjected to "intrusive surveillance" and "tailing" by intelligence personnel of that country, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today.
"The matter has been taken up strongly with the Government of Pakistan at various levels," she told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour. "Members of the High Commission of India have been subjected to intrusive surveillance, including tailing by the intelligence and security personnel of the Pakistan government," the Minister said.
Replying to a question on "ill treatment of Indian diplomats", she referred to several incidents in Pakistan and other countries in the past few years and said after the issues were raised with the respective governments, such actions have not been repeated in these countries "except Pakistan".
She also said the government was making all efforts to ensure that the United States drops all charges against IFS officer Devyani Khobragade, whose arrest in New York two years ago had led to a diplomatic standoff between the two nations.
"India and the US have initiated an official dialogue to comprehensively address all aspects related to the case against Khobragade and all issues arising from differing perspectives on diplomatic privileges and immunities. "Our government is making all attempts so that all charges levelled against her are dropped," Swaraj said, adding that the US government has expressed regret over the incident.
The former Indian diplomat, then serving in the US, was arrested in New York on December 12, 2013 on charges of "visa fraud" and "false statement" and released on bail the same day. This had led to a major diplomatic standoff between India and the US.
Swaraj also cited other instances of mistreatment of Indian diplomats in the last few years which occured in Slovenia, Romania, Albania and Pakistan, besides such treatment meted out to eminent Indian citizens, including former President APJ Abdul Kalam who was subjected to frisking at New York airport against protocols.