NEW DELHI:  In an apparent tit for tat,  the elite Sindh Club in Karachi refused to host Indian high Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan and his wife for a function on September 26.

Indian media quoting sources in Delhi and Karachi confirmed that the club, one of Karachi's oldest institutions, said no to hosting Raghavan without giving any reason even after Raghavan had arrived in Karachi to attend the event.

The event was being organised by a group called Pakistan-India Citizens' Friendship Forum. Liaquat Merchant, the grandson of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is a co-chairman of the group. The organisers had invited Raghavan for an event related to India. Merchant was expected to make a speech at the event.

Sources here said the high commissioner and all other guests had received invitation cards saying Sindh Club , which has existed since 1871, was going to host the event. Raghavan got a rude shock though after he checked into his hotel in Karachi with officials informing him that Sindh Club had decided that it was not going to host him. The club never got back to Indian authorities to explain why it had decided to back out at the last moment.

While the Indian external affairs ministry  has taken the issue seriously, official sources did not want to venture a guess on whether or not Sindh Club had acted under pressure from Pakistan authorities.

They did not rule out though that this could be in reaction to Pakistan gazal maestro Ghulam Ali not being allowed to perform in Mumbai by the Shiv Sena. "It's a fact that of late there seems to be a hate campaign being carried out in Pakistan against India, going even by TV channel debates," the Indian media quoting  sources in Delhi said.

It's a fact though that Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit too has had to face such treatment in India. Earlier this year, Basit was supposed to visit Chandigarh but had to call it off as, hours before his departure, the Punjab and Haryana governments sent him a message saying they would not like to host him.