Amid growing strain in Indo-Pak ties, India today asked its diplomats and other officials posted in its High Commission in Islamabad to withdraw their children from schools there from the current academic session, virtually downgrading it as a “non-school-going station”.
They have been advised to make arrangements for their wards to study outside Pakistan. Most of the children of Indian officials in Pakistan study in international schools.
The announcement came after a government’s review of staffing and related policies for their diplomatic missions as also prevailing circumstances at the station.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “It is a normal practice for all countries to review staffing and related policies for their diplomatic missions, including in view of prevailing circumstances at those stations.
“With effect from this academic session, officials posted in the High Commission of India in Islamabad have been advised to make arrangements for education of their wards outside Pakistan, till further notice.”
Reacting quickly to India’s move, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria in Islamabad said, “This is an informal, internal, administrative arrangement we were informed of two months back. No other considerations were communicated to us.”
According to officials, there are about 50 school-going children of Indian officials, who are currently posted in Indian mission in Islamabad.
This development amounts to “downgrade” of Pakistan as a “non-school-going station”, an official said.
Last week, India had asked Pakistan to ensure full safety and security of Indian officials and their families there in view of the threats of marches and protests at the High Commission after the observance of ‘Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan Day” and “Black Day” last week.
India and Pakistan are witnessing growing bitterness after Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made provocative statements on the Kashmir situation in the wake of Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8. Wani was a wanted terrorist Commander of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen.
Not only did Sharif praise Wani but he also remarked that “Kashmir will one day become Pakistan”, a comment which evoked a sharp reaction from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said his dream of the state becoming a part of his country “will not be realised even at the end of eternity”.
(With agency inputs).