Pakistani diplomats, families in New Delhi reportedly being harassed

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On the first day of his visit to Islamabad on Monday, Mr. Zarif held meetings with Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, his Pakistani counterpart Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal.

India is set to start operations in this part of Chabahar with borrowed Iranian equipment by May-end. The port is crucial for India as it plans on creating a trade and transport corridor to Afghanistan while bypassing Pakistan.

Zarif sought to allay Pakistan's concerns about India's involvement in Chabahar by saying that the port project was not meant to "encircle Pakistan" or "strangulate anybody".

"Our relations with India, just like Pakistans relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Islamabad as we understand Pakistans relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran", the Iranian foreign minister said. Pakistan has in the past tried to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Saudi Arabia and Iran, but could not convince Riyadh to accept its good offices.

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Pakistan's Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has told the visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that "wider cooperation in West Asia is needed" to tackle security challenges threatening the region.

"We are taking measures to do that and there is an open invitation to Pakistan to participate in that, " he added. Zarif said, "There is no reason for hostility between Iran and Saudi Arabia".

However, sources in New Delhi said India has repeatedly requested Pakistan to mutually ensure that High Commissions are allowed to do their job in an atmosphere free of harassment and intimidation, that staff be allowed to work and that construction projects get completed on time. After years of trying to make the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline a reality, Iran and India had given up on Pakistan.

Singh was summoned after Pakistani newspaper Dawn quoted Pakistani officials of accusing India of harassing its diplomats and their families in the country and threatened to pull out the families if the intimidation did not stop.

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