After strong demarche by India, 2 High Commission drivers held in Islamabad for alleged hit & run released’
Hours after India lodged a strong protest, Pakistani authorities on Monday evening released two Indian High Commission staffers in Islamabad, who were reportedly arrested for their alleged involvement in a “hit and run accident”.
Top Government sources confirmed that the two Indian staffers were released by Pakistani authorities and they are back at the Indian High Commission.
Sources said Pakistan charge d’affaires Syed Hyder Shah was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and issued a demarche. Simultaneously, in Islamabad the Indian High Commission took up with the Pakistan authorities the issue of the missing staffers, they added. The Indians, both drivers, reportedly went missing since 8 am.
This incident comes days after two Pakistani officials at the Pakistan High Commission here were accused of espionage and deported. The two staffers Abid Hussain and Mohammad Tahir worked in the visa section.
The Delhi Police caught them while they were reportedly obtaining sensitive documents relating to India’s security installations from an Indian national in exchange for money, sources said.
Incidentally, this was the first time in four years that an official of the Pakistan High Commission was expelled. In October 2016, India and Pakistan had expelled officials from each other’s missions for spying. Pakistan had summoned a senior Indian diplomat to register a strong protest over the decision.
This incident comes against the backdrop of several top Indian diplomats being subjected to aggressive tailing in Islamabad by the Pakistani security agencies over the last several days. India has protested against the excessive surveillance.
The vehicle of India’s Charge d’affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was chased by the ISI recently. A biker was seen following the official’s car.
In March, the Indian High Commission in Pakistan sent a strong protest note to the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad protesting against the harassment of its officers and staff.
In the note, India cited 13 such instances just in March and asked Pakistan to put an end to them. The Government also said Pakistan should investigate the incidents urgently and instruct the relevant agencies to ensure that these do not recur.
India and Pakistan downgraded their diplomatic ties in August, after J&K’s special status under Article 370 was revoked. Both countries have recalled their High Commissioners, and Deputy High Commissioners.
Tuesday, 16 June 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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