Islamabad, Aug 30:
Indian authorities treat Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit as a virtual “persona non grata” because of his hawkish attitude, a leading Pakistani newspaper said on Tuesday.
Basit has not been allowed by Indian officials even once to meet Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj or any other high profile dignitary during his tenure, the Daily Times reported.
Basit was appointed Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi in February 2014, months before Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. Earlier, he had served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Germany.
The daily quoted Foreign Office sources as saying that Sushma Swaraj did not entertain repeated requests from Basit for formal meetings.
“Given his hawkish personality and unnecessary aggression, none of the policy makers in India feel like meeting him,” the sources were quoted as saying.
“He doesn’t enjoy personal rapport with any important Indian official,” the sources added.
The daily said the job of being posted as High Commissioner in New Delhi is regarded one of the most important diplomatic assignments in Pakistani foreign service.
“The most brilliant career diplomats are normally posted in New Delhi,” it added.
The daily said the Indian authorities had verbally and informally appealed to Pakistan on several occasions to replace Basit with someone else.
It said Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry had raised the matter with Basit and “advised him to keep his cool during tough situations”.
“The Foreign Secretary wanted the High Commissioner to dispel the impression that he was a hawk and always would be, no matter whatever the circumstances between the two countries.”
Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakria, however, denied that there were differences between Chaudhry and Basit.
India had cancelled the secretary level dialogue with Pakistan in 2014 after Basit met Huriyat leader Shabir Shah just days before the dialogue.
The Daily Times said the Twitter timeline of Basit shows trips to Nagpur, Chandigarh, Shimla and other parts of India.
“However, the ambassador seems to be fond of re-tweeting pictures of picturesque landscapes of Pakistan, as if his primary task is to promote the country’s tourism industry,” it said. (IANS)