NEW DELHI: The current round of diplomatic hostility between India and Pakistan seems to have erupted after the Pakistani help of India’s defence attache in Islamabad was forced to stop working for him by local authorities.

Indian authorities saw this as violating the understanding reached in late March that the two countries would follow the 1992 Code of Conduct meant to ensure “smooth and unhindered functioning of their diplomatic and consular officials in conformity with recognised norms of international law ”.

What provoked this action by Pakistani authorities is not known but it was reminiscent of the incidents of harassment and intimidation of diplomats witnessed in both capitals in February and March. The matter was taken up with the Pakistanis.

This was followed by a spate of incidents both in New Delhi and Islamabad this month. While Pakistan alleged that one of its visiting woman diplomats was robbed of her handbag and that another diplomat had his car tailed and broken into, the Indian air adviser was detained at Islamabad airport for a while for not carrying his identity card. The identity card though had expired and the diplomat was awaiting its renewal by the Pakistani foreign ministry.

According to Indian authorities, the cases brought to the government’s notice were of law and order nature and had nothing to do with harassment.

TOI also learnt that in April, a junior staffer had to be recalled to India after an aborted bid by ISI men to blackmail him into passing sensitive information to them.

Matters came to a head last week after Pakistan prevented Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria and other officials from entering Panja Sahib Gurudwara at Hasan Abdal. They were also not allowed to meet Indian Sikh pilgrims. While India warned Pakistan against fanning secessionist sentiments, Islamabad claimed that these pilgrims were protesting against Indian authorities.

India and Pakistan have had no substantive engagement for over two years now, except for humanitarian issues, and things are likely to remain the same at least until the outcome of elections in Pakistan.

The report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on alleged human rights violations in J&K has further vitiated relations with India taking note of Islamabad’s attempts to milk the report.