Pakistan police release two Indian High Commission staffers

Two Indian High Commission officials missing in Pakistan
Soldiers From India And Pakistan Perform The Elaborate Daily Flag-Lowering Ceremony May 30, 2002 At The Wagah Border. Photo: Getty Images

New Delhi: Pakistani authorities on Monday evening released two Indian High Commission staffers in Islamabad hours after they were reportedly arrested for their alleged involvement in a road accident.

Top government sources confirmed that the two Indian staffers were released by Pakistani authorities and they are back at the Indian High Commission.

The duo left the High Commission in a vehicle for official duty at around 8:30am (IST) and did not reach their destination, the sources said.

India summoned the Pakistan charge d'affaires in Delhi and lodged a strong protest over the reported arrest of the two officials.

Pakistani media had reported that the two Indian staffers were arrested for their alleged involvement in a "hit and run accident".

Official sources said the Pakistan charge d'affaires (CDA) was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and a demarche was issued to him, making it clear that there should be no interrogation or harassment of the Indian officials and the responsibility for their safety and security lay squarely with the Pakistani authorities.

The sources said the Pakistan side was asked to return the two officials along with the official car to the High Commission immediately.

The incident comes after two Pakistani officials at the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi were accused of espionage and deported.

Thereafter, Pakistan has been trying a tit-for-tat, targetting to expel Indian High Commission officials from the country for one reason or another.

Several top Indian diplomats in Pakistan have been aggressively tailed in Islamabad over the last several days and India has even protested against the excessive surveillance.

On June 4, India's Charge d' Affaires, Gaurav Ahluwalia, was chased in the Pakistan capital by bike borne people suspected to be from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Ahluwalia has been subjected to aggressive tailing and intimidation.

After the incident, the matter of harassment of the Indian High Commission officials and obstruction in discharge of their normal functioning was taken up through established diplomatic channels.

Amid this, the High Commission is finding it difficult to resume normal functioning. The Indian diplomats and consular officials are facing aggressive tailing and surveillance.

Last Friday, India registered protest in the form of a note verbale to Pakistan authorities. India has asked Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of the Indian High Commission and its staff and to allow them to resume their activities in keeping with the Vienna Convention.

India told Pakistan that the behaviour of its agencies violated Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and also the bilateral 1992 Code of Conduct which the two countries signed to provide diplomats immunity from hostilities in ties.

On May 31, in New Delhi, India declared two officials of the Pakistan High Commission as persona non grata on charges of espionage and ordered them to leave the country within 24 hours.

Also Pakistan's Charge de Affairs was issued a demarche in which a strong protest was lodged over the activities of the two officials against India's national security.

Pakistan had downgraded diplomatic ties by expelling the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad following India's decision to withdraw special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August last year.

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