Pak diplomats irate as Delhi banks refuse to cash cheques

03 December 2016
As the country grapples with demonetisation, Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi have their own unique problem. Their banks have reportedly refused to cash dollar cheques, which has led to the Pakistani mission lodging a formal protest with the Indian ministry of external affairs.

A senior Pakistan official said that Islamabad would be forced to take similar steps against the Indian mission in Islamabad, unless remedial measures are taken to help Pakistani diplomats posted in Delhi. An MEA official told The Hindu that the government will ''look into'' the complaint.

 ''We are finding it difficult to perform our duties as the bank where we conduct our transactions has been refusing to let us withdraw cash. This is an unprecedented challenge as the bank is declining our legitimate requests to withdraw our own money,'' said the Pakistan diplomat.

''We have sent a note verbale [note of protest] regarding the issue and hope that MEA will not force us take a similar step against the Indian mission,'' the diplomat added.

Following the demonetisation announced on 8 November, diplomatic missions have been facing a cash crunch as non-availability of Indian currency is preventing them from executing vital duties.

However, the Pakistani diplomat clarified that the trouble faced by the Pakistan diplomats was not related to demonetisation.

''The concerned bank [in South Delhi] has been denying to issue us money from our own account saying that it can't let us withdraw cash, which is an addition to the hardships we are facing because of the demonetisation,'' said the Pakistan official.

Responding to the issue, an official of the ministry of external affairs acknowledged the receipt of note verbale from the Pakistan High Commission and said, ''We have discussed the issue and will look into the complaint of the Pakistan High Commission.''

The official said that the Pakistani diplomats remain entitled to their salaries and the problem was likely to be resolved.

Diplomats have borne the brunt of the downturn in bilateral ties between India and Pakistan. In the last week of October, India expelled a Pakistan diplomat charging him of espionage. This triggered a series of tit-for-tat expulsions.

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