'Desire peaceful ties with India, want to sort diplomats' harassment issue soon'
New Delhi: Pakistan wants to sort out "as soon as possible" the issue of alleged harassment of diplomats, its High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood said on Friday and asserted that his country desired "peaceful and good-neighbourly" relations with India.
Mahmood, who came back to India last night, a week after he was called to Islamabad for consultations amid the raging row between India and Pakistan over harassment of diplomats, said such issues affect the relations between the two countries.
"I discussed this issue (alleged harassment of Pakistani diplomats in India) with our government. We want to sort out this issue as soon as possible because it affects the relations between the countries," the Pakistani envoy said on the sidelines of an event organised to mark 'Pakistan National Day'.
In the evening, the envoy hosted a reception at the embassy which was attended by Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
A number of diplomats and prominent personalities from various walks of life attended the reception. Some low-ranking leaders from a number of separatist organisations in Kashmir also attended it.
Mahmood was called back to Islamabad for consultations after alleged incidents of harassment of its diplomatic staff in New Delhi, with the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson claiming the Indian government failed to take notice of the increasing incidents of intimidation of Pakistani diplomats, their families and staff by its intelligence agencies.
India and Pakistan have accused each other of harassing diplomats in Islamabad and New Delhi. During his address at the event, Mahmood said, "Pakistan desired peaceful and good-neighbourly relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. It was important to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, peacefully through dialogue."
He also said that peace was in the mutual interest of both countries and it could only be achieved through diplomacy and dialogue.